THE global Japanese fishing company Nippon Suisan Kasha (Nissui) has announced that its European arm is to buy Sealord Caistor, one of the most important fish processing centres in the UK.
The Lincolnshire site is just 12 miles from Grimsby and is the main white fish seafood producer for the high end Waitrose supermarket group, where it employs at least 200 people.
As such it is a highly prized site and it is believed that other companies, including Young’s, have looked at acquiring the business in the past.
The deal also gives the Japanese group a strategically important foothold in the UK seafood processing business.
Nussui said in a statement today: ‘Nippon Suisan (Europe), a 100 per cent subsidiary of Nissui, has entered into an agreement to acquire all shares of Sealord Caistor from Sealord (Europe), which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Sealord Group.’
Sealord Caistor will be renamed Caistor Seafoods after the acquisition.
‘Sealord Caistor supplies fresh and processed seafood to the British supermarket chain Waitrose, which prides itself on the quality, sustainability and traceability of the products it sells.’
Sealord Caistor is currently the UK arm of Sealord New Zealand, which is a fish processing concern jointly owned by the Maori people (Aotearoa Fisheries) and Nissui. The company has been established in the UK at its Lincolnshire site in Caistor since 1996 and has recently opened a new fish processing facility at its existing Caistor site.
Sealord Caistor began processing at its new NZ $7 million (£3.2 million) plant in Lincolnshire in January 2007, employing an additional 40 personnel to bring the total workforce to 200.
The plant was officially opened by Jonathan Hunt, the then New Zealand High Commissioner to Britain, at the end of April 2007.
Sealord Caistor supplies all of Waitrose’s white fish stock and helped the supermarket win the Seafood Retailer of the Year Award in 2007.
In October 2010, Sealord became the fifth member of the Grimsby Traditional Fish Smokers Group, allowing it to proudly display the logo of the Protected Geographical Indication.
Sealord said it utilises the traditional smokehouses of Keith Graham Ltd to produce its authentic product. Much of the fish processed is flown in directly from Reykjavik in Iceland almost every day within two days of being caught.
Sealord has its home base in New Zealand where it promotes careful and sustainable fish harvesting. The company has international business in Australasia, Asia, Europe and the Americas able to source, process and market about 220,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish a year, marketing a range of more than 1,500 products.