Young's Seafood owners eye potential sale

The private equity owners of Young's, one of Britain's biggest seafood brands, is understood to be exploring a multi-million pound sale.

The Press Association understands that Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners (UK) are working with boutique investment house Stamford Partners on a potential exit.

Grimsby-based Young's Seafood, which has a history dating back 200 years, recorded turnover of £496.5 million last year and booked earnings of £21.2 million, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Young's was acquired by its current owners from CapVest in 2008 as part of a £1.1 billion takeover that also included the Findus brands.

Lion broke up the operation in 2015, striking a £500 million deal to sell the European arm of Findus to Birds Eye-owner Nomad Foods, leaving it with the Young's operation in the UK.

Young's is in the midst of a US expansion drive after partnering with Pennsylvania-based frozen fish supplier The Fishin' Company to launch seven new products into the American market.

The firm, which was founded by Elizabeth Young and her family in 1805, has a wide range of frozen food products including the Gastro and Chip Shop range, ready-meal fish pies and shellfish.

Young's headquarters are based at the Grimsby fish docks, where it also has a manufacturing and product development operation. In total Young's employs around 1,700 staff across seven sites.

Any deal for the business would come at a crucial time for the UK fishing industry, as it awaits clarity on how Britain's Brexit negotiations will impact the sector.

It would also mark further consolidation in the seafood production business after Hilton Food Group sealed an £81 million takeover of Young's rival Seachill in October.

Young's Seafood and Lion Capital declined to comment.