Cumbrian Seafoods announcement expected –

Cumbrian Seafoods announcement expected Published:  05 December, 2011

AN official announcement is expected later today about the future of Cumbrian Seafoods with speculation that the business, or at least part of it, has been bought by the Findus group.

The deal, if it goes ahead, would greatly strengthen Findus’ seafood operations and it is likely that Cumbrian would be brought under the umbrella of Young’s, which is based in Grimsby. Findus has already declared that it wished to expand its seafood portfolio and Cumbrian presents them with a golden opportunity.

Cumbrian is one of Britain’s largest fish and seafood suppliers, but it hit strong financial headwinds earlier this year and it engaged KPMG Corporate Finance to explore a number of companies  which made offers for the business earler in the autumn

It suffered earlier this summer from the Pangasius issue and unprecedented levels of raw material inflation, but corrective measures were taken and the company stressed that it has a sound business model with Blue Chip customers.

Cumbrian was listed by The Sunday Times  in October as one of Britain’s top 250 privately-owned companies. In its last published figures it recorded an annual profit of £3.1-milliion. The company was founded by Peter Vassallo in Cumbria, but four years ago it built a modern seafood processing factory at Seaham in County Durham where it employs between 500 and 600 people.

However, it still has smoked fish interests near Whitehaven on the Cumbrian  Coast.  It is now the largest independent seafood supplier to major supermarket chains like Tesco and Morrisons. Seven out of ten of all prawn cocktails sold in UK supermarkets are packed by Cumbrian. It is now a £200-million a year business.

There is speculation that Mr Vassallo will resign once the deal is completed.