Young’s changes hands Published: 23 July, 2008
YOUNG’S, Britain’s largest frozen and chilled seafood producer, has changed hands in a deal between two private equity companies worth £1.1-billion.
CapVest has agreed to sell its European food operation, Foodvest, to Lion Capital, a private equity group which includes Weetabix and the French soft drink Orangina in its portfolio.
The deal also includes Findus frozen foods in France and Scandinavia, which was the subject of bid speculation in the City at the weekend, with Permira, owners of Birds thought to be one of the potential bidders, along with the Seafood Company, the UK based fish own label operation. There was further speculation that Lion could eventually link up with Permira to include Birds Eye at a later stage.
Young’s employs over 4,000 people in Grimsby and in Scotland where it has large seafood plants and fish smoke houses including Annan, Edinburgh, Fraserburgh and Stornoway. The Scottish workforce alone totals about 1,600 people with a further 2,500 in Grimsby.
The Seafood Company is a leader in the production of chilled, private-label seafood products in the UK, selling to all of the major UK multiples. It is Europe’s biggest processor of farmed Atlantic salmon.
Per Harkjaer, chief executive of Foodvest, says; “With CapVest’s support we have brought the group to a powerful position, and this change of ownership is a logical next step in our development. Lion Capital’s specialist consumer experience will be helpful in taking the business to the next level.
“We have a strong track record and a solid strategy with robust forward plans, but more importantly we have great products and super people. This has made us an attractive food group despite the current difficult economic climate. “
Unions in Grimsby and Scotland are calling for talks with the newowners to allay fears over jobs.
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