Young's Seafood plans huge Chinese expansion

Young's Seafood plans huge Chinese expansion

The frozen fish producer is casting its net into the Chinese market amid speculation that the business will be sold in a multi-million-pound deal.

Chief executive William Showalter has said that the company has been in talks with potential partners over an export push into China after a successful brand expansion across the United States.

However, the industry stalwart remained quiet when it came to rumours which suggest that Princes’, which is owned by the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation, could snap up the iconic British brand.

This news comes as the Grimsby-based firm moves forward with its American expansion after securing a partnership with Pennsylvania-based frozen fish supplier the Fishin’ Company to get its products onto American shelves.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Showalter said of the new potential market: “We see China as a big opportunity.

"As we speak, we are exploring discussions with partners in that market and we would look to deploy a similar model to the one that we are using in the United States. Continental Europe is probably next on our list.

“When we sold our continental european business to nomad Foods in November 2015, we committed to them to not sell frozen branded product into any of the markets where our Findus business had competed, but that prohibition expires in November this year.

“It would be our desire to look at opportunities in continental Europe once we are able to freely trade there.”

The Press Association was also told last December that Young’s private equity owners had been working with investment house Stamford Partners on a potential exit.

The food producer was sold by CapVest to Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners (UK) in 2008 as part of a £1.1billion takeover that included the Findus brands.

This operation was split in 2015 when Lion struck a £500 million deal to sell the European arm of Findus to Birds Eye owner Nomad Foods.

Young’s recorded turnover of £496.5 million in 2016 and earnings of £21.2 million, according to the latest accounts filed at Companies House.