Key fish businesses looking for buyers

TWO key fish businesses could soon be on the market, according to weekend reports. The brewing giant Greene King is said to be ready to cast off the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant chain.
Meanwhile, poultry tycoon Ranjit Boparan is considering putting its Irish fish business, Donegal Catch, on the market in a bid to raise £50 million.
According to the Sunday Times, this is the second time in three years that Suffolk based Greene King has looked at selling the Loch Fyne chain, which it bought for £67 million in 2007.
Loch Fyne was started in 1977 as an oyster bar on the banks of the loch in Cairndow, Argyll and Bute, It was built into a successful chain by Mark Derry and Ian Glyn, who won a number of awards for their distinctive dishes.
There are currently around 34 restaurants with the brand, spread across the UK. But, as illustrated by the troubled Jamie Oliver ‘Italian’ chain recently, middle end restaurants are under pressure, not least from rising prices for key raw materials such as fish.
The Sunday Times also reported that Ranjit Boparan, nicknamed the ‘chicken king’, is desperate to raise cash to pay off large debts and may sell off Donegal Catch, which sells retail cod, haddock and salmon fish packs throughout Ireland.
It is thought to have hired the finance adviser Clearwater International to explore a sale.
Although heavily into poultry, Boparan also owns the Harry Ramsden fish restaurant chain and the Grimsby based Five Star Fish company, which supplies retailers such as Marks & Spencer.