Shock as British Seafood Group goes into administration23 February, 2010 –
The seafood industry was hit by a major thunderbolt last night after it was disclosed that one of its star performers the British Seafood Group had gone into administration.
The group owns several companies in the UK and overseas, but its biggest British operation is Five Star Fish of Grimsby which employs over 200 people and was completing a £7-million expansion. It is continuing to trade as normal.
Five Star was bought by British Seafood about three years ago for a reported £35-million and it is almost certainly one of the most profitable sections of the group. Five Star said last night that it was continuing to trade normally and that the company itself was not in administration.
John Fenty, the founder of Five Star Fish and now Grimsby Town FC chairman, said in a message of support that while he was deeply saddened by the British Seafood news, he was nevertheless confident that a new owner would be found for Five Star . “It is very much a niche operation with a large share of the foodservice market in seafood and in that way quite separate from the rest of the group. I am certain that the administrators will find a new owner for Five Star. Asked if he would go back into the fish business, Mr Fenty said he had no plans at present, but added: “I would never say never.”
British Seafood also own the Grimsby fish trading company Bloomsbury International and has interests in Ireland through Evergreen Foods Ltd, as well as in South Korea and a base on Billingsgate Market.
The surprise is that for several years in succession British Seafood has been named by the Sunday Times business section as one of the fastest growing private companies in Britain. Founded by Mark Holyoake, the group specialises in sourcing, processing and distributing fish and shellfish to food producers worldwide. It saw its sales jump by £53 million to £255.8 million in 2007, the latest year for available financial information.
The problems are thought to be peculiar to the company itself rather than any fundamental weakness in the seafood business generally.
Deloittes of London confirmed in a statement today they had been appointed administrators for Bloomsbury International of Aylesby, near Grimsby, British Seafood Ltd, British Seafood Holdings Ltd and the British Seafood Processing Group. The aim now, it added, was to review the businesses and then look at selling them on as going concerns.