Macduff Shellfish look set to buy Young’s Seafood Stornoway

Euan Beaton (Macduff Shellfish); Lorraine Pears (General Manager in Stornoway) and Steve Lidgett (Young's Seafood).
Euan Beaton (Macduff Shellfish); Lorraine Pears (General Manager in Stornoway) and Steve Lidgett (Young's Seafood).

The UK’s largest wild caught shellfish processor, Macduff Shellfish, today announced it has reached an in principal agreement to acquire Young’s Seafood’s Limited’s Stornoway operation, for an undisclosed sum.

The potential deal would consolidate a two year relationship between the businesses and would see all 33 Young’s Seafood employees transfer to Macduff Shellfish.

The Stornoway factory currently processes whole langoustines which are sold to Macduff Shellfish and de-shells prawns for use in Young’s scampi.

Young’s intends to move supply and processing of its wholetail prawns to its Annan factory, with the potential to create a small number of permanent jobs.Based in Mintlaw near Peterhead, Macduff Shellfish processes shellfish and exports to Europe and the Far East as well as supplying the UK market. At the end of last year, it purchased the UK’s largest scallop fishing fleet, Scott Trawlers.

Commenting on the potential Stornoway acquisition, Euan Beaton, chairman of Macduff Shellfish, said: “The purchase of Stornoway from Young’s would be the natural progression of a two year relationship. It would open up a number of exciting opportunities for us on the west coast of Scotland.

“Should the sale go ahead, it is very much our intention to continue with buying both whole langoustines and prawn tails. However, our ambition is to expand the shellfish species processed at the Stornoway factory in line with our mission to lead, develop and innovate within selected shellfish species.”

He continued: “Should the sale go ahead, we are looking to build relationships with fishermen on the Hebrides and west coast to enable us to do that. Our intention, following a full review of the business, would be to invest in the factory looking for sustainable, profitable growth.”

Steve Lidgett, operations director at Young’s Seafood Limited, said: “Macduff Shellfish has increasingly been Stornoway’s major customer, accounting for up to 60% of our output. When we were approached by Macduff Shellfish to sell the business, we felt it could be in the best interests of both businesses, the Stornoway factory and our Stornoway employees and that is why we have entered into discussions.”

Euan Beaton added: “This is a really exciting time in Macduff Shellfish’s continued expansion. Over the last 10 years we’ve quadrupled the size of the business. In the next five years I’d like us to double it again through acquisition deals such as this and through organic growth.

“We’re interested in shellfish processing and fleet acquisition opportunities as well as expanding our interest in providing funding to fishermen to finance vessels and their activities. We currently have nine such arrangements in place at present and want to further expand this.”

It is anticipated that if the sale goes ahead it will be completed by September 2013.