Macduff Shellfish targets Young's Seafood site

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Left to right: Beaton, Stornoway general manager Lorraine Pears, and Lidgett
Left to right: Beaton, Stornoway general manager Lorraine Pears, and Lidgett

Related tags: Seafood

Macduff Shellfish plans to buy Young’s Seafood’s plant in Stornoway for an undisclosed sum as part of aims to double the size of its business.

The UK’s largest wild caught shellfish processor has announced it has reached an in principal agreement to acquire the Stornoway operation, which processes whole langoustines and de-shells prawns for Young's scampi.

Macduff confirmed if the deal is agreed, it would consolidate a two-year relationship between the businesses and entail the transfer of all 33 Stornoway employees to Macduff Shellfish.

In addition, Young’s intends to move supply and processing of its wholetail prawns to its Annan factory, with the potential to create a small number of permanent jobs.

“This is a really exciting time in Macduff Shellfish’s continued expansion,"​ said Macduff Shellfish chairman Euan Beaton. "Over the last 10 years we’ve quadrupled the size of the business. In the next five years I’d like us to double it again through acquisition deals such as this and through organic growth.

'Interested in shellfish processing'

“We’re interested in shellfish processing and fleet acquisition opportunities as well as expanding our interest in providing funding to fishermen to finance vessels and their activities. We currently have nine such arrangements in place at present and want to further expand this.”

Based at Mintlaw near Peterhead in Scotland, Macduff Shellfish processes shellfish and exports to Europe and the Far East as well as supplying the UK market. At the end of last year, it purchased the UK’s largest scallop fishing fleet, Scott Trawlers. 

“The purchase ... would open up a number of exciting opportunities for us on the west coast of Scotland,"​ Beaton said. "Should the sale go ahead, it is our intention to continue buying both whole langoustines and prawn tails. 

"However, our ambition is to expand the shellfish species processed at the Stornoway factory in line with our mission to lead, develop and innovate within selected shellfish species ...

'Sustainable, profitable growth'

“... We are looking to build relationships with fishermen on the Hebrides and west coast to enable us to do that. Our intention, following a full review of the business, would be to invest in the factory looking for sustainable, profitable growth.”

Steve Lidgett, operations director at Young’s Seafood, said: “Macduff Shellfish has increasingly been Stornoway’s major customer, accounting for up to 60% of our output.

"When we were approached by Macduff Shellfish to sell the business, we felt it could be in the best interests of both businesses, the Stornoway factory and our Stornoway employees and that is why we have entered into discussions.”

It is anticipated that if the sale goes ahead it will be completed by September 2013.

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