The proposed deal, which is being completed via Whitby Seafoods subsidiary Kilkeel Seafoods Limited, was placed under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on 8 August 2023.
Whitby Seafoods established Kilkeel Seafoods Limited in 2011 after it acquired Northern Ireland business Rockall Seafoods, which is no longer trading. However, the Yorkshire fish product manufacturer still operates three Northern Irish processing sites in Galloway, Newton Stewart and Kilkeel.
Between the investigation being opened and 22 August, interested parties have been invited to comment on the proposal, with a Phase 1 decision deadline set for 4 October. The decision made will determine whether the investigation is taken further.
The acquisition is being investigated under section 96(2a) of the Enterprise Act 2002.
‘Home of scampi’
Founded in 1985, Whitby Seafoods remains based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, where it is primarily focused on the production of scampi, in addition to fish goujons / strips, fishcakes and calamari.
Marketed as the ‘Home of scampi', it supplies retailers such as Sainsbury's, Tesco and Farmfoods, as well as producing own brand products for online grocery service Ocado. It also works with pubs and restaurants throughout the UK.
Meanwhile, Kilhorne Bay is located in Annalong, Northern Ireland, and is focused on the catching, processing and distribution of fish. It largely supplies its produce to catering, wholesale and retail businesses.
The proposed acquisition comes not longer after Whitby Seafoods announced that 40 jobs were at threat due to falling sales and rising costs.