Young’s Seafood may take business, jobs from struggling Five Star Fish
Five Star Fish, a producer of frozen, breaded and battered whitefish products based in Grimsby, England, has announced it will likely close after running significant deficits for several years.
The closure, which will result in the loss of 390 jobs at the facility, is partially due to problems the company has had fulfilling a major seafood contract with Marks and Spencer, according to the Grimsby Telegraph.
“Five Star Fish has undertaken a full strategic review of its business and has concluded its operation at Grimsby is not sustainable in its current form for the long-term,” a Five Star spokesperson told the Telegraph. “We are having on-going discussions with our customers and with other local manufacturers to ensure we explore the full range of options available to us. However, the site is heavily loss-making and despite major investment in recent years, we are unable to reverse the situation."
The company made a GBP 11 million (USD 15.5 million, EUR 12.5 million) investment and hired an additional 70 employees in 2016 and 2017 to handle the Marks and Spencer contract, which it took over in June 2016 from Icelandic Seachill. But Five Star’s own problems with making the contract profitable were compounded by difficulties at its parent company, Two Sister Food Group, which has been selling off assets and replaced CEO Ranjit Boparam in February.
However, the potential job losses at Five Star Fish may be mitigated by efforts by local Member of Parliament Melanie Onn and Seafood Grimsby & Humber, which represents the region’s seafood industry, to try to keep the work in Grimsby. The Telegraph reports that Grimsby-based Young’s Seafood is a likely candidate to take over the work.
Young’s did not comment on the reports, and a Marks and Spencer spokesperson did not specifically mention Young’s as a possible landing spot for its contract.
“We’ve been working closely with Five Star Fish and will move our coated fish business to another [Marks and Spencer] supplier,” the spokesperson told the Telegraph.
Simon Dwyer of Seafood Grimsby and Humber said he remained hopeful the contract would stay in Grimsby.
“Grimsby remains a thriving hub for seafood processing with all major U.K. retailers and food service businesses buying their seafood from Grimsby. So we’re very hopeful that the [Marks and Spencer] contract will be handled by another Grimsby based seafood processor,” he said. “If so, it may mitigate the longer-term impact of this announcement.”