200 redundancies as Scottish producer Dawnfresh falls into administration

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Dawnfresh, one of the UK’s largest seafood producers and processors, has collapsed after struggling with rising costs.

Founded in 1973 and headquartered just outside of Glasgow in Scotland, the business operated seven fish farms across Northern Ireland and Scotland, with production and processing facilties in Uddingston and Abroath.

The largest producer of rainbow trout in the UK, Dawnfresh supplied a wide range of retail, wholesale, food service and export market customers with a fully integrated range of services, from fish processing and supply through to the creation of high-value branded products such as RR Spink & Sons and Loch Etive.

In recent years the business has benefited from extensive investment to upgrade the plant and systems, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Despite these turn around efforts, the company posted a £2.3 million pound loss early last year, as it continued to suffer from rising costs, overcapacity at the Uddingston site and unsustainable cashflow problems.

Read more: Dawnfresh posts £2.3 million operating loss

According to The Grocer, Tom MacLennan, Callum Carmichael and Michelle Elliot at recovery firm FRP Advisory have been appointed joint administrators of Dawnfresh Holdings, Dawnfresh Seafoods and RR Spink & Sons (Arbroath).

Following a short marketing exercise to find a buyer, FRP secured a sale of the Arbroath facility to Lossie Seafoods as a subsidiary of Associated Seafoods, a Scottish smoked salmon producer, in a deal that includes the transfer of all 249 staff to the new owners.

Platfrom for growth
Associated Seafoods said the acquisition would provide a platfrom for growth for the processing plant, which will operate alongside its own Buckie-based facility, creating a business with a combined turnover of about £85m. The Arbroath business will supplies a wide range of smoked and value-added fish products for a broad customer base, including Marks & Spencer.

Subsidiary business Dawnfresh Farming will continue trading solvently while being marketed for sale, with interested parties invited to contact FRP Advisory as soon as possible.

The Uddingston facility, which was heavily lossmaking, will close with immediate effect, resulting in 200 redundancies, with 77 staff being retained to assist the joint administrators with the winding-up process.

FRP is seeking buyers for the assets of the Uddingston site, which includes the land, buildings and plant.

Unable to overcome financial problems
FRP partner Callum Carmichael commented, “Dawnfresh is a high-profile and highly regarded seafood business with a long tradition of supplying innovative products to a blue-chip customer base.

“Unfortunately, the business has been unable to overcome very serious financial problems at the Uddingston facility, but we are pleased to have secured a prompt sale of the Arbroath facility in a deal that will also preserve substantial employment in the town.

“Our focus is now on finding a buyer for the farming business whilst also realising as much value as possible from the other assets for the benefit of creditors.”

Associated Seafoods MD Victor West added: “This acquisition is a major boost for Arbroath and the town’s long-held fish processing tradition.

“Both businesses are major suppliers to Marks & Spencer, who are delighted that their two key suppliers of ready-to-eat seafood are joining ranks. We are thrilled that the Arbroath site will become part of our group, which will significantly expand our production capability in both volume and range.”