Seachill shines for Icelandic Group – Fishupdate.com

Seachill shines for Icelandic Group Published:  20 August, 2007

GRIMSBY-based fish processors Seachill is one of the few ‘bright lights’ for the Icelandic Group, which has announced below par second half results, a leading seafood analyst said at the weekend.

The Icelandic Bank Glitnir says in its assessment of the group’s performance that Seachill, along with Icelandic Asia, was one of the few subsidiaries which yielded acceptable results.

Glitnir, which specialises in seafood company reports, adds that the slack performance was in large part due to the transfer of production units between the Coldwater factory at Grimsby, which is ironically just a mile apart from its Seachill cousin, to the Pickenpack plant at Wimille in Northern France.

In fact, Seachill has been a consistent top performer for the Icelandic Group, which bought a majority stake in the business nearly four years ago.

Seachill (UK) Ltd was formed in 1998 and is now one of the leading fresh fish processors in Britain. The company operates predominantly in the highly competitive own label retail sector, supplying fresh fish to Tesco, the UK’s leading food retailer.

From the start, its rapid growth has been growing both with the fresh fish market and Tesco’s increasing share of that market. Seachill’s modern plant in Grimsby is equipped with the most advanced production technology which fulfills the strictest hygiene and quality requirements of the UK retail and food service markets. Seachill currently employs around 600 people.

Seachill is recognised as operating very efficient and modern plant where processes have been automated in order to increase the output and minimise the processing time for the fish as it runs through the plant. For example, a whole salmon comes in for production and in just over three minutes, has been filleted, de-boned, cleaned, skinned, sliced into even portions and packed.

The single most important species is salmon where it is of the largest buyers in Europe, purchasing some 15,000 tonnes of whole salmon from Scotland and Norway. Added to this there is the purchase of whitefish fillets and fillet portions from Iceland, Norway and the UK, which are packaged for the consumer market in Grimsby.

Glitnir said the Icelandic Group’s interest-bearing debts totalled 558-million euros (over £380-million) and added that the company’s performance clearly needed to improve significantly if it was to withstand such a heavy debt burden for an extended period.

The Bank added: “In light of Icelandic’s poor operating position and uncertainty about the future we recommend as before that investors underweight shares in Icelandic in their portfolios.”

www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.