Japanese seafood giant takes majority stake in Flatfish

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flatfish management team (l-r): Nigel Clarke, director; Steve Stansfield, chief executive; Peter Stokes, finance director; Richard Stansfield, business development and innovation director
Flatfish management team (l-r): Nigel Clarke, director; Steve Stansfield, chief executive; Peter Stokes, finance director; Richard Stansfield, business development and innovation director
The European arm of a major Japanese fishing conglomerate has acquired a 75% stake in Grimsby-based seafood processor Flatfish.

Nissui Europe said the acquisition of Flatfish fitted with its strategy to “strengthen its seafood supply chain in the UK”​ following its takeover of Sealord Caistor in 2017.

The move would “further enhance synergies”​ within its European operations in conjunction with Cite Marine and Nordic Seafood, Nissui added.

A specialist in the sustainable sourcing of British flat fish species, Flatfish has customers in both retail and foodservice. Last November, it won a contract to supply a new ready-to-cook range to more than 200 Waitrose branches.

Flatfish history

The business was founded in 1979 by Bob Stansfield and his son Steven, who became sole owner in 1991.

In 2002, Flatfish moved out of a rented unit and transformed a derelict bakery into a fish processing factory in a £1m investment project. The site was equipped with new cold stores, freezing equipment, computerised fish grading lines and a specialised automated flatfish filleting machine.

More recently, plans were in place to acquiring the site adjacent to the current factory, with the aim of increasing the processing capacity. The company has also invested in new fishing vessels.

Turnover and net assets

In its latest published accounts to 31 October 2017, Flatfish had a turnover of £12.7m and net assets of £3.6m.

Nissui, officially known as Nippon Suisan Kaisha, is the second-largest commercial fishing business in Japan. With a goal to “establish a global supply chain of marine products”​, the company has been on the acquisition trail in recent years.

It recorded had annual revenues of $5.1 billion in 2014.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood

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