Last portion of British Seafood empire fails to attract credible bids

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Catering, Seafood

Administrators handling Seatek, the last portion of the now-defunct British Seafood empire still up for sale, admit they have yet to receive a credible offer for the business.

Jason Godefroy, partner at corporate advisory firm MCR, which has been managing the sale of the British Seafood subsidiaries after it went into administration in February, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “While there has been some interest ​[from firms interested in buying Seatek as a going​concern], we’ve had no acceptable offers. We’re still continuing to trade out the stock, but can probably only keep going for another couple of months​.”

London-based Seatek, which is a leading supplier of fish and seafood to the wholesale and catering sectors, turned over about £36m in 2009, said Godefroy.

MCR had also failed to find a buyer for Co Kildare-based ethnic food supplier Evergreen Foodservice Ltd, another​British Seafood subsidiary it was tasked with selling, said Godefroy. “Unfortunately, we had to close Evergreen because we were not able to find a buyer.”

However, the rest of the British Seafood business has been successfully sold as a going concern.

First to go was Grimsby-based prepared fish and seafood manufacturer Five Star Fish, which was acquired by The Boparan Group (which owns poultry processing giant 2 Sisters Food Group and chip shop chain Harry Ramsden).

This was rapidly followed by Redditch-based Visual Foods Holdings, owner of seafood, meat and poultry supplier Visual Foods (formerly Vision Seafoods) and ethnic food supplier Dragon Delight Foodservice (formerly Oriental Delight Foodservice), which was sold to a management team backed by finance from GE Capital this month.

Credit insurance withdrawn

Founded by entrepreneur Mark Holyoake and his brother Laurence in 1995, British Seafood notched up sales of more than £320m in 2008.

However, the heavily-indebted firm imploded in February after trade credit insurance was withdrawn and administrators were called in, prompting ripples of concern throughout the seafood industry.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood