Dawnfresh Seafoods enters administration: 200 staff made redundant

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dawnfresh Seafoods was pushed into administration by rising costs, overcapacity and cash flow problems
Dawnfresh Seafoods was pushed into administration by rising costs, overcapacity and cash flow problems

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, administration

Dawnfresh Seafoods has entered into administration, with 200 members of staff made redundant with immediate effect.

Tom MacLennan, Callum Carmichael and Michelle Elliot – partners with FRP Advisory – have been appointed joint administrators of Dawnfresh Holdings Limited, Dawnfresh Seafoods Limited and R R Spink & Sons 

While the business benefited from extensive investment to upgrade the plant and systems, improve efficiency and reduce costs, Dawnfresh continued to suffer from rising costs, overcapacity at the Uddingston site and unsustainable cash flow problems, with administration reportedly the only option. 

The Uddingston facility – which was heavily loss making – has closed with immediate effect, resulting in 200 redundancies. Administrators have retained 77 staff to assist with the winding up process.  

Dawnfresh Farming 

Subsidiary business Dawnfresh Farming will continue trading solvently, with the business marketed for sale and interested parties invited to contact FRP Advisory as soon as possible. 

Commenting on the administration, Callum Carmichael said: Unfortunately,​ [Dawnfresh] has been unable to overcome very serious financial problems at the Uddingston facility, but we are pleased to have secured a prompt sale of the Arbroath facility [R. R. Spink & Sons] in a deal that will also preserve substantial employment in the town.   

“Our focus is now on finding a buyer for the farming business whilst also realising as much value as possible from the other assets for the benefit of creditors.” 

Lossie Seafoods, a subsidiary of Associated Seafoods, has agreed to acquire the assets and goodwill of Arbroath-based seafood processing business R. R. Spink & Sons, protecting the jobs of the 249 employs at its Arbroath site. 

Combined business 

The acquisition will create a business with a combined turnover of £85m, according to Associated Seafoods. 

Victor West, managing director of ASL, said the acquisition was a major boost for Arbroath and the town’s long-held fish processing tradition.  

“Both businesses are major suppliers to Marks & Spencer, who are delighted that their two key suppliers of ready-to-eat seafood are joining ranks,”​ West added. “We are thrilled that the Arbroath site will become part of our group, which will significantly expand our production capability in both volume and range.  

“The Arbroath and Buckie sites share the same passion for seafood, and my team and I very much look forward to working in both locations with our enlarged ASL ‘family’.” 

Operations together 

The R. R Spink & Sons processing plant will operate alongside Associated Seafoods’ Buckie processing facility, with plans to grow operations at the former. 

The Arbroath facility produces a wide range of smoked and value-added fish products for a broad customer base, including premium tier retailer Marks & Spencer. 

Associated Seafoods chairman Bill Hazeldean added: Victor and his management team, together with all the employees at Buckie, have done a terrific job developing ASL into the successful business it is today.  

“The addition of Arbroath will accelerate our planned strategic growth, and we look forward to working with our new colleagues through this next stage of our business development.” 

Meanwhile, plant baker Finsbury Food Group's subsidiary Lightbody Holdings has agreed to acquire a further 35% of Lightbody-Stretz for €7.14m from Phaste,​ bringing its stake to 85% of its shares. 

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood, Operations

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