Cumbrian Seafoods nets a buyer to save 570 jobs in County Durham

Posted on 6 Dec 2011

Young’s owner Lion Capital has acquired Cumbrian Seafoods and its subsidiary Border Laird after the seafood producers went into administration yesterday.

Over 570 jobs will be saved at the company’s headquarters in Seaham and processing sites in Cumbria and Northumberland as a result of the deal.

Cumbrian Seafoods employs 378 people at its principle processing site in Seaham and 117 in Whitehaven, Cumbria. Border Laird employs 79 workers in Amble, Northumberland.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) oversaw the administration and sale after a restructuring took place to wipe the company’s debts before the sale took place.

A new company was set up by Lion Capital, also the owner of Young’s Seafood and Findus, to house the new business that it’s acquired. The deal includes Cumbrian Seafood’s supermarket contracts and equipment from three factories.

Lion Capital has transferred all of the staff to the new enterprise on their existing terms and conditions. PwC commented that rising raw material costs and reductions in activity played a role in the company’s decision to go into administration.

Sean Hamilton, director at PwC in Newcastle, said: “The sale means that it remains business as usual for customers and staff. I’m delighted that we have been able to secure a sale of the business, enable the transfer of all employees and preserve the continuity of supply to customers in the run up to Christmas.”

Future options, which could involve integration and servicing of customer contracts by Young’s Seafood Limited, Lion Capital’s existing UK fish and seafood business, will be explored over the coming weeks.

Leendert den Hollander, chief executive at Young’s Seafood, said: “This is the beginning of a process and the teams involved will work hard to understand the business and consider how best to take the customer contracts forward.  Our focus is on customers – on fulfilling their contracts – and consulting with new employees on possible options for the future.”

Peter Vassallo, chief executive of Cumbrian Seafoods, added: “Whilst I recognise that it is a difficult time for all concerned, this transaction is in the best interests of our employees and customers.”