By Scott Wright

FORTY jobs have been saved in Lanarkshire after a buyer was found for the Uddingston fish processing plant of the stricken Dawnfresh Seafoods.

Two hundred people were immediately made redundant in late February when the long-established Dawnfresh collapsed into administration, following 17 consecutive years of losses.

Administrators FRP Advisory said at the time that despite extensive investment, the company had suffered from rising costs at the Uddingston site, leading to unsustainable cash flow problems. The plant was immediately closed.

The administrators did save 249 jobs with the sale of the group’s RR Spink & Sons of Arbroath to Associated Seafoods, though the future of 77 jobs was placed in doubt after being retained by FRP to assist with the winding up process.

Now FRP has announced that the future of the Uddingston plant has been secured, following its sale to the Peterhead-based Thistle Seafoods as a going concern.

FRP did not disclose the value of the deal, which as seen the immediate transfer of 40 employees to Thistle Seafoods.

The site spans more than 100,000 square feet and includes a large industrial unit with processing, warehousing, administration and cold store facilities together with an extensive range of plant and equipment.

In a statement issued yesterday, it was said that Thistle would develop the Uddingston site into an advanced added-value seafood processing and distribution centre with ready access to retail and wholesale customers and markets in the UK, European Union and further afield. The statement added that the refreshed Uddingston facility would complement Thistle’s processing facilities in Peterhead, which supplies seafood products to customers throughout the world.

Callum Carmichael, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said: “We are delighted to have agreed a sale to Thistle Seafoods, which is very well placed to integrate the site and facilities into their own fast-growing business. It is also particularly rewarding that the deal also includes the transfer of 40 employees. We wish Thistle Seafoods every success with their acquisition and with their plans to develop and grow the business.”

Ryan Scatterty, managing director of Thistle Seafoods, 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.

“It will also allow us to further expand our product offering and capitalise on our fast-growing export markets. We are delighted to welcome an extra 40 staff to our business and plan to recruit further this year as we build our business.”

Dawnfresh Seafoods, which was founded in 1973, was one of the UK’s largest producers and processors of fish and seafood when it went into administration on February 28, along with Danwfresh Holdings and RR Spink & Sons (Arbroath).

FRP said that Dawnfresh Farming, which operates seven fish farms in Scotland and Northern Ireland, continues to trade solvently. That business will be formally marketed for sale in the coming months.

In May, The Herald reported that a new filing at Companies House showed the administrators had been authorised to draw an interim fee of £739,078.25 plus value-added tax for work between February 28 and April 8.