THERE are fresh hopes for the former staff of a collapsed Northumberland food business as administrators struck a deal to sell its factory.
The Border Laird factory at Amble, which employed 38 people, has just been bought by Tyneside firm Moir Seafoods.
The North Shields company’s management was unavailable for comment yesterday but the local MP said he hoped the deal would “offer a future for the factory and those who worked there.”
The factory, which processed langoustines and makes fishcakes, was owned by Cumbrian Seafoods before it went into administation in December last year.
Grimsby-based Young’s Seafood, which supplies 40% of the UK’s fish products, bought the contracts and equipment at Cumbrian’s Amble, Whitehaven and Seaham factories. But it announced plans to shut Seaham in May with the loss of 250 jobs, Whitehaven with the loss of around 100 staff and kept Amble site open until July.
Cumbrian’s administrators PWC and Young’s had tried to sell the Amble business as a going concern but said that a potential buyer for its langoustine processing business had withdrawn its interest and that no other companies had come forward to make an offer for the site.
Sir Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick, said: “I welcome the news that Moir Seafoods has bought the Border Laird premises in Amble.
“I understand that plans for the site are at an early stage but I and my team are in contact with the company and I very much hope that this news will offer a future for the Amble factory and those who worked there.
“Amble has been through some tough times with the loss of jobs at Northumberland Foods and Border Laird, and I will do everything I can to encourage businesses to come to the town and create much-needed work.”
Northumberland Foods, once Amble’s biggest employer, closed in December 2010 other failed attempts to operate it by the likes of Cheviot Foods and Longbenton Foods.
Efforts have since been made to sell the site but to no avail. Northumberland County Council is currently seeking planning permission to demolish and clear the site, saying it is not fit for purpose and at the end of its useful life.
The authority has said it will then be able to promote the redevelopment of the site with the aim of bringing new jobs to Amble in the future.
Cumbrian was the biggest employer in Seaham, where the business was headquartered in a factory, in it had invested more than £15m.
The company, which was founded in 1997, moved to Seaham from Maryport in 2007 and made a series of acquisitions, increasing its sales to more than £150m before its collapse due to rising costs and falling sales.
Moir Seafoods management were unavailable for comment yesterday. Young's declined to comment.