Loch Duart sees processing plant purchase, refurbishment pay off

Russell Leslie, factory manager of Loch Duart's new processing facility in Dingwall, Scotland.

The Dingwall, Scotland, processing plant that Loch Duart acquired in 2020 is now exporting products to Europe and the United States, having been completely refurbished to provide better social distancing and also having obtained the British Retail Consortium “AA” Grade certification. 

The purchase gave the 22-year-old independent Scottish salmon farmer its first fish processing plant. The 50,000-square-foot site on the Black Isle was previously owned by The Edinburgh Salmon Company, a subsidiary of Thai Union. It was mothballed in 2018.

Loch Duart invested GBP 2 million (USD 2.8 million, EUR 2.3 million) in buying and refurbishing the factory, which now employs more than 70 people, Loch Duart Factory Manager Russell Leslie said.

“Having worked under the previous ownership and now running the plant myself, I am delighted by the improvements in staff conditions in the last year under the new ownership. The factory and yard are substantial in size, allowing us to design in lots of space for working, social distancing and staff welfare,” Leslie said. “Our clear message to the local community is that we offer high-quality jobs with good career prospects and reasonable rates of pay for the sector. For example, a line operative can be promoted to team leader within six months and career development plans are available for everyone who wants to progress.”

Previously, the factory had very seasonal peaks, but now Loch Duart is packing fresh fish and not the smoked products that are mainly geared to the Christmas market, Leslie said.

In addition to processing Loch Duart fish, the facility has also secured processing contracts from other salmon companies.

Loch Duart currently produces around 6,000 metric tons (MT) of salmon each year, supplying the foodservice and retail sectors in the United Kingdom and in overseas markets. Its fish are raised in low-density, low-energy, sheltered sites with minimal fish handling.

Last month, the company purchased a new feeding barge to increase production after securing a six-figure asset financing deal from banking organization HSBC UK.  

Photo courtesy of Loch Duart


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