Dawnfresh Seafoods bought out of administration, saving 40 jobs

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Thistle Seafoods is based at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in Scotland
Thistle Seafoods is based at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire in Scotland

Related tags Finance Meat & Seafood

Dawnfresh Seafoods Limited has been bought out of administration by Thistle Seafoods Limited, saving 40 jobs at its Uddingston fish processing facility in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The Uddingston site covers more than 9,290m2​ and includes a large industrial unit with processing, warehousing, administration and cold store facilities together with an extensive range of plant and equipment.

The deal, which was secured by administrators at FRP Advisory for an undisclosed sum, entails the immediate transfer of 40 employees to Thistle Seafoods, which is based at Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Thistle Seafoods aims to develop the Uddingston site into an advanced added-value seafood processing and distribution centre with ready access to retail and wholesale markets in the UK, the EU and further afield. The Uddingston facility will complement the processing facilities in Peterhead, which focus on bringing innovative seafood products to customers throughout the world.

'Sea-to-plate' processing

The acquisition underpins Thistle Seafoods’ strategy to develop a leading ‘sea-to-plate’ seafood processing business based in Scotland, with a customer base expanding across the UK and all major international markets. The private label manufacturer of chilled and frozen coated and added-value seafood products claims to be one of the largest family-owned manufacturers of quality seafood products in Europe, with origins dating back to 1947.

Ryan Scatterty, Thistle Seafoods managing director added: “The acquisition of the Uddingston facility is an ideal fit for our business as it will provide us with a strategic processing, storage and distribution hub with ready access to the key transport networks to better serve our domestic customers. It will also allow us to further expand our product offering and capitalise on our fast-growing export markets. We are delighted to welcome an extra 40 staff to our business and plan to recruit further this year as we build our business.”

Dawnfresh Seafoods was one of the UK’s largest producers and processors of fish and seafood when it went into administration on 28 February 2022, along with Dawnfresh Holdings Limited and R R Spink & Sons (Arbroath) Limited.

Asked to review business

According to administrators' proposals filed with Companies House on 14 April 2022, Dawnfresh Seafoods's board originally asked FRP Advisory to review the business in November 2021. The company was considering the sale of its Uddingston factory and a merger with its Abroath facility.

The proposals stated that a 'biological event' at Dawnfresh Farming, a weakened trading position in the overall business and increased costs of merging facilities, group projections required additional funds of £10m for it to continue trading until August 2022. "Funding at this level was not available,"​ it added.

Administrators then pursued the sale of assets, while reducing workforce capacity as production was wound down at Uddingston, leading to 216 redundancies.

Dawnfresh Farming for sale

FRP Advisory sold Dawnfresh Seafoods's Arbroath facility to Lossie Seafoods Limited in a deal that saved 249 jobs. Dawnfresh Farming Limited, which operates seven fish farms in Northern Ireland and Scotland continues to trade solvently and will be formally marketed for sale in the coming months. In the interim, the joint administrators are encouraging interested parties to contact the Edinburgh office of FRP Advisory.

Callum Carmichael, partner with FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said the deal was an excellent outcome for all parties: “Thistle Seafoods is very well-placed to integrate the site and facilities into their own fast-growing business. We wish Thistle Seafoods every success with their acquisition and with their plans to develop and grow the business.”

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