Young’s Seafood plans to close a factory in Scotland, putting 450 jobs at risk as it grapples with “exceptionally challenging” market forces.
Britain’s biggest seafood producer said deli and meals production at the Pinneys site in Annan had been earmarked for closure.
As part of the sweeping changes, natural salmon production would be shifted from the Pinneys site to a factory in Grimsby, creating 200 new jobs.
It said a further 50 positions may also be created at its scampi factory in Annan to meet growing demand.
The plans – part of the firm’s One Young’s strategy – would see the Pinneys factory shut down by the end of the year.
It comes as speculation continues to swirl over a multi-million pound sale of the business after sources told the Press Association in December the firm’s private equity owners were working with boutique investment house Stamford Partners on a potential exit.
Chief executive Bill Showalter said: “Today’s proposals to close our Young’s Pinneys site does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams at Young’s Pinneys – they are a credit to our company and if these proposals do go ahead we will work hard to maintain the employment of all colleagues throughout this transition.
“We have a long history of seafood production in Annan and whatever the outcome of the consultation we will continue to be a part of the community, given our other factory site within the town.”
The announcement came as Young’s landed three contracts with Marks & Spencer to provide chilled and frozen coated fish, natural salmon and white fish between 2018 to 2023.
The firm is also eyeing an export push into China after expanding the brand across supermarket shelves in America.
Young’s has already partnered with Pennsylvania-based frozen fish supplier The Fishin’ Company to bring its products to US retailers such as Walmart.
The Grimsby-based group employs about 2,000 staff across seven sites.
It was bought by Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners (UK) from CapVest in 2008, as part of a £1.1 billion takeover that included the Findus brands.
Lion broke up the operation in 2015, striking a £500 million deal to sell the European arm of Findus to Birds Eye-owner Nomad Foods, leaving it with the Young’s operation in the UK.