Young's Seafood is one of the two leading marketers in the UK of frozen and chilled fish and other seafood, with a sizeable private label business in addition to branded products under the main Young's brand and sub-brands Gastro and Chip Shop. It is neck and neck with Nomad's Birds Eye by branded revenues in the UK frozen fish segment and #3 overall in frozen foods behind Nomad and McCain. Young's itself is the top-selling local frozen fish brand, and the business also trades as The Seafood Company. It is the last remaining part of what was previously Findus Group, which also had operations in France, Spain and Scandinavia. The Findus brand originated in Sweden in the 1940s and was owned by Nestle from the early 1960s until 2000. Findus Group was formed by the acquisition and merger of various European frozen foods businesses by private equity investors, latterly Lion Capital. In 2015, Lion Capital agreed to sell the Continental European operations of Findus Group to Nomad Foods, Young's main competitor in the UK, for £500m. Young's itself lost a key UK contract to supply Sainsbury's during 2015 leading to a large reduction in staffing, as well as a slump in revenues and profits. Several other private label contracts were lost in 2018, and that year Lion put the business up for sale again. Former owner CapVest finally reacquired the business, but talks dragged on for more than a year before the deal was agreed in summer 2019. Young's was merged with CapVest's existing Karro Food Group, a leading pork processor, under the name Eight Fifty Food Group. Di Walker was named as CEO of Eight Fifty; Simon Smith is CEO of Young's. A series of further acquisitions followed, operating mostly in the private label or foodservice sector: Irish meat brands RibWorld, Callan Bacon, Stirchley Bacon and Carroll's Cuisine, and Greenland Seafood of Germany. The whole Eight Fifty business was sold in 20210 to Canadian food manufacturer Sofina. Young's Seafood reported revenues for the year to Sept 2018 of £544m, but the company reported a £7m loss as a result of exceptional costs and impairments. Retail sales were approx £200m in 2020, with another £350m or more from foodservice and private label contracts. Young's traces its heritage back to 1805, when it was founded by the Young family in London. It has been headquartered in Grimsby since the 1950s.
Capsule checked 20th March 2021
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Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Aug 2015: Nomad Foods, the newly created investment vehicle which acquired the Iglo and Birds Eye frozen foods brands earlier this year, has agreed a separate deal to buy that business's main rival in continental Europe, Findus Group, for £500m in cash and shares. The new purchase will add subsidiaries in Scandinavia, France, Spain and Belgium to Nomad's footprint, as well as all European rights to the Findus, Lutosa and La Cocinera brands. The deal does not include Findus's UK operations, including Young's seafood, which will be retained by private equity investor Lion Capital.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Jan 2015: Nestle agreed to sell its Spanish frozen meals brand La Cocinera to Findus Group. The latter markets the Findus brand in Spain and most other European markets except Italy (where it is owned by Iglo). In the UK, Findus is best-known for its seafood business Young's. No price was disclosed, but La Cocinera has sales of around €65m annually. The acquisition will double Findus group's sales in Spain.
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