Thai Union’s Rügen Fisch to close seafood cannery in Germany

Published on
May 26, 2022
Rügen Fisch AG has outlined plans to transfer the production of its subsidiary Hawesta Feinkost.

Citing headwinds in the German and European canned seafood markets in recent years, Rügen Fisch AG has outlined plans to transfer the production of its subsidiary Hawesta Feinkost Hans Westphal GmbH & Co. KG to Sassnitz.

The move will see Hawesta join the rest of the Rügen Fisch Group at the existing manufacturing site on the island of Rügen, and result in the closure of the Lübeck plant.

The Hawesta works council and the 200 employees were informed of the plans on 25 May, and discussions with employee representatives have been initiated by Rügen Fisch.

In a press release, Thai Union-owned Rügen Fisch said it would like to retain as many employees as possible via transfer to the facility in Sassnitz, and that it is exploring options for supporting its employees in moving from Lübeck to Sassnitz.

“Rising labor, energy, ingredient, and packaging costs, together with high fish and raw material prices, have led to an increasingly difficult market environment since 2019. This transfer of production is crucial for Rügen Fisch to ensure the long-term viability of the group and to strengthen the position of the longstanding Hawesta brand to remain as competitive as possible,” it said.

Thai Union purchased a majority stake in Rügen Fisch for EUR 42.2 million (USD 46.1 million) in 2015. Rügen Fisch mainly supplies ambient and chilled fish products – including herring, mackerel, salmon, and tuna – to German and overseas retailers under its own brands. The company employs more than 600 staff across sites in Germany and Lithuania.

Earlier this month, it announced that Volker Büttel has taken over from Jens Vogler as CEO of Rügen Fisch and subsidiaries Hawesta and Ostsee Fisch GmbH & Co. Produktions-und Vertriebs KG. Rügen Fisch said, moving forward, Büttel would be responsible for strengthening the company’s competitive position and would pave the way for the creation and production of innovative consumer products. Büttel has also been tasked with continuing the company’s integration into the Thai Union organization.

 On 19 May, Thai Union announced its European subsidiary Européenne De La Mer sold the assets of a smoked salmon factory in Dąbrowa Chełmińska, Poland.

Européenne De La Mer supplies salmon and smoked fish products for European market. The buyer of the assets is Polish firm Dobry Pracownik. Under the deal finalized on 13 May, Dobry Pracownik will buy the physical assets of the facility, including land, buildings, and equipment. Thai Union declined to provide the sale price for the assets.

Thai Union announced the decision to close the factory near Bydgoszcz, Poland, in October 2021, citing “highly challenging market conditions and a lack of competitiveness with peers.”

Photo courtesy of Thai Union

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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