Dutch shrimp firm Telson enters bankruptcy

Published on
March 12, 2020

Lauwersoog, The Netherlands-based shrimp firm Telson has filed for bankruptcy, according to the Leeuwarder Courant.

The company, which produces machine peeled North Sea shrimp, was purchased by Morubel in 2016. Morubel’s owner, Bencis Capital Partners, reorganized the operations of its shrimp holdings in 2017 so that Telson came under the umbrella of Shore, an Ostend, Belgium-based conglomerate of shrimp processors that includes Belgium-based Morubel, German firm Ristic, Dutch company Telson, and Rainbow Export Processing in Costa Rica.

After the creation of Shore, Telson began processing the entire chilled seafood range sold by Morubel and Ristic, and it moved into a new facility, shifting from sending it shrimp to Morocco for peeling to peeling them locally via machines made by GPC Kant, which shares its headquarters with Telson in the same building in Lauwersoog.

However, an abundance of North Sea shrimp in 2019 led to low prices, hurting Telson’s bottom line. Then, in early 2020, a series of storms forced the local shrimp-fishing fleet to stay in port, leading to a shortage of shrimp and causing Telson to fall further into financial distress, according to RTV Noord.

Last month, Telson’s management applied for a deferral of payment on a EUR 1 million (USD 1.1 million) debt. But the Dutch court hearing the appeal appointed an administrator to steward the company through a financial settlement. That administrator, Pieter Lettinga, decided the company’s financial situation was too grave to salvage, and decided to file for bankruptcy on 10 March, according to the Courant. Lettinga told the newspaper the company owed significant value-added tax payments in addition to its other debts.

Lettinga told RTV Noord he valued Telson’s annual sales at between EUR 10 million and EUR 20 million (USD 11.2 million and USD 22.5 million). As a result of the company’s shutdown, 11 employees have been laid off.

Lettinga said he was unsure if Telson would emerge from bankruptcy in its current form, or whether it would be sold and its assets stripped. He said the company had trouble competing against larger companies also involved in the processing and sale of North Sea shrimp, such as Heiploeg and Klaas Puul.

"Of course you are going to see if there are parties who want to take over such a company," Lettinga told the Courant. “Maybe they are only interested in Telson's packaging machines. That remains to be seen."

Photo courtesy of Telson

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500