Pelagia to upgrade “run down” former Tate & Lyle sugar refinery for salmon processing

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Pelagia is owned by Austevoll Seafood and Kvefi in a 50/50 share split.

Greenock Telegraph reports that Pelagia is upgrading its Greenock factory in Scotland.

Austevoll Seafood and Gustav Witzøe’s investment tool Kvefi together own Pelagia, who sells pelagic consumer products, fish meal and fish oil in Europe.

Trimmings
Though the Pelagia Greenock site processes only trimmings from the Scottish Salmon industry to produce value-added oil and protein ingredients used in animal feeds across Europe, US and Asia.

The sugarhouse of Neill, Dempster & Neill at Greenock taken in April 1893 . Sugarhouses can usually be recognised by the flat roof. PHOTO: Inverclyde.gov.uk/ McLean Museum and Art Gallery

A document which was submitted with the planning application said: “Compared to Pelagia (UK) Ltd’s other facilities, the site is run down and outdated.

“This is due to lack of investment in the years prior to Pelagia (UK) Ltd’s full ownership of the site.

“The proposed improvements will enhance the working environment and visual appearance, and better support operational responsibilities whilst allowing the company to benefit from production, efficiency, reliability and environmental opportunities.

“The development will help safeguard the company’s future on the site and its contribution to the local economy and employment.”

Greenock site today on Google Street. PHOTO: Google

Better days
The site, which used to be part of the Tate & Lyle, certainly looks like its seen better days. Far from its past role as the last working cane sugar refinery in Scotland. Greenock, known as the town of “sugar and ships” was associated with the business for over two hundred years.

Postcard of the 20th-century demolition of a chimney of the Roxburgh St refinery. PHOTO: Mawer.clara

According to Canmore National Record Of The Historic Environment, Westburn Refineryas it was known, was founded in 1896 as ‘Berryards Refinery’, and operated continuously until 1997, apart from a spell between 1941 and 1946, during which it was extensively re-built following air-raid bomb damage.

End of an era
After its take-over by Tate & Lyle in 1976 (whose founder, cask and barrel maker/shipowner, Lyle was born in Greenock), it became the last survivor from a group of at least 12 sugar refineries which combined to make the town one of the most important sugar-producing centres in the UK.

But it was the end of an era on August 27th 1997, when Tate & Lyle, closed the doors at its Westburn Refinery for good. The last sugar boat, the “Corola” was due at Greenock Ocean Terminal on 20th June 1997.