Thistle Seafoods to buttress UK’s fish and seafood market with acquisition of Dawnfres Seafoods’ assets

UK-Thistle Seafoods, a manufacturer of frozen, chilled coated, and added value seafood products has acquired assets belonging to one of the UK’s largest producers of fish and seafood, Dawnfres Seafoods.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, brings the 100,000 sq ft Dawnfresh fish processing facility in Uddingston to Thistle Seafoods management.

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The industrial unit includes processing, warehousing, administration, and cold store facilities together with a range of other equipment.

The acquisition of assets from Dawnfres, which is out of administration, is taking place amid a going-concern sale by Thistle, which is based in Peterhead, in Scotland.

Thistle said it plans to “develop the Uddingston site into an advanced added-value seafood processing and distribution center with ready access to retail and wholesale customers and markets in the UK, the EU, and further afield”.

Ryan Scatterty, Thistle Seafoods’ managing director, said: “The acquisition of the Uddingston facility is an ideal fit for our business as it will provide us with a strategic processing, storage, and distribution hub with ready access to the key transport networks to better serve our domestic customers.”

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It will also allow us to further expand our product offering and capitalize on our fast-growing export markets.”

Dawnfresh, a supplier of 10,000 tons of seafood a year to domestic and international retail and foodservice channels, and owner of brands including Silver Tide, Loch Etive and RR Spink & Sons, went into administration in February.

In September 2021, the company earmarked a multi-million-pound investment for one of its two factories in Scotland and also revealed it would close the Uddingston facility this year.

Dawnfresh encouraged its staff in the Uddingston site to move to the company’s plant in the town of Arbroath, Angus, where the company invested GBP5m (US$6.9million) to expand the factory.

The expansion was planned to increase output by 30% over the next five years on the back of the investment in Arbroath and to increase its product offering, which consists of 350 different lines.

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Another part of the business, Dawnfresh Farming Limited, which operates seven fish farms in Northern Ireland and Scotland continues to trade insolvently and will be formally marketed for sale by FRP in the coming months, according to Dawnfresh.

The move by Dawnfresh and Thistle to divest and invest respectively comes as the demand for the global frozen seafood market size is forecasted to grow due to the rising popularity of seafood because of hectic lifestyles, the growth in disposable income, and the inclination for food.

GlobeNewswire projects the global frozen seafood market valued at US$38.82 billion in 2021 to cross US$68.37 billion, by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 7.5%.

It added that the simple availability and accessibility of many species of seafood under one roof through the construction of major retail chains, particularly in developing nations, will aid the market expansion.

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