Owner Européenne de la Mer, a subsidiary of Thai Union Group, launched a consultation into the proposed sale or closure of business in September, but since announced it could find no feasible alternative solution to closure.
An ESCo spokeswoman told Food Manufacture that the company was now beginning individual consultations with every employee.
“We are making every possible effort to support our employees – we are exploring available roles within Thai Union Group and are working with the Scottish Government’s local enterprise and skills agencies to find and secure alternative employment for them in the local area,” she said.
‘A phased process’
“Until we start the individual consultation process, it’s impossible to give details of when people may leave the business. However, we expect that this will be a phased process to ensure we are able to fulfil our contracts over the Christmas period.”
The closure was sparked by repeated periods of poor financial performance, which had led to continued losses for the business. This had been fuelled by over-capacity in the UK chilled seafood industry and, in particular, salmon processing.
“Many processors chasing a finite number of customer contracts has made the market extremely competitive, even as overall market demand continues to grow,” the spokeswoman added.
‘Volatility in the price of fish’
“The second major challenge has been volatility in the price of fish, particularly Norwegian and Scottish salmon. These issues have made financial forecasting and planning impossible and have led to a number of processors closing sites and operations.”
ESCo is understood to have lost a large contract with Pret A Manger last year. The company made a £5.2m loss for the year ended 31 December 2017, according to its latest set of accounts.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that CapVest could be in the final stages of closing a deal to buy fish processor Young’s Seafood.