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Ocean Pure Seaham, Whitehaven Sites to Close in Young's Seafood Move

UK - In an update on the consultations at the former Cumbrian Seafoods sites in Seaham and Whitehaven, it is expected that that the Seaham and Whitehaven sites will close, with volume from the sites moving to Youngs Seafood Limiteds existing facilities.

Pete Ward, Chief Operating Officer of Youngs Seafood Limited, said: Following formal consultations at the former Cumbrian Seafoods (now known as Ocean Pure) sites in Seaham and Whitehaven, lasting over three months, we are now announcing that volume from these sites will be transferred into Youngs Seafood Limiteds existing facilities because this has been identified as the most sustainable option for the long-term."

Factors considered, as part of the consultation process, included cost, financial sustainability, quality and technical standards, and manufacturing capabilities of the sites. Unfortunately the phased transfer of volume is likely to result in the closure of the Seaham and Whitehaven sites with the loss of up to 281 jobs in Seaham and 99 jobs in Whitehaven, in the next month. We will confirm exactly how the volume will be distributed amongst Youngs Seafood Limited sites in the coming days with the aim of achieving the most robust and sustainable manufacturing operating model for the long-term.

Cumbrian Seafoods went into administration on 5 December 2011. Lion Capital then acquired selected assets from the administrators. It is clear from the fact that Cumbrian Seafoods went into administration that restructuring is needed (For reference, see the administrators letter to creditors, 14 December 2011: http://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/Cumbrian_Creditor.pdf). To this end, in early January 2012, the formal consultation processes began with staff at the sites, to explore proposals and possible options for the facilities.

The consultations at the Seaham and Whitehaven sites have involved numerous meetings with the employee representative groups and local stakeholders and alternative options were considered in detail. External experts, PWC, were also brought in to review the financial viability and sustainability of the various options for the future of the sites.

The formal consultation at the former Cumbrian Seafoods sites at Border Laird in Amble continues, we are exploring options including the outline possibility of a sale of the site, and this on-going consultation process is not affected by the developments regarding Seaham or Whitehaven.

Wed like to stress that this is not a decision that has been taken lightly and does not, in any way, reflect on the committed and experienced teams at these sites. They have continued to work hard during this period and are a credit to the whole workforce. Our priority is to continue to fulfil customer contracts, alongside ensuring that the employees affected by this announcement get the support they need by working closely with them, local agencies and other key stakeholders.

Lucy Towers

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