Business

High growth fish processor Three Oceans bought out by Japanese seafood giant

Japanese seafood giant Nissui has swooped for a third Humber business in four years.

Hull-based high-growth operator Three Oceans Fish Company Ltd has been added to a portfolio that includes Grimsby’s Flatfish and Caistor Seafoods, in an undisclosed deal.

The European arm of Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd – known as Nissui – has acquired 75 per cent of the company, describing it as a “producer of top quality coated fish products and has customers in both the retail and foodservice sectors in the UK”.

Three Oceans was founded by Tim Rose in 1992, a third generation in the industry, and employs 90 people from the Ocean House headquarters and significant processing facilities in Witty Street.

The company turned over £36.7 million in the year to March 27, 2020, up from £28.1 million in 2019, returning a profit of £1.2 million.

In a statement following the acquisition, a spokesperson for Nissui said: “Nissui has built a fish processing business in the UK following its acquisition of Caistor Seafoods Limited in 2017 and Flatfish Limited in 2019.

A Three Oceans-sourced dish.

“Through this acquisition Nissui will further strengthen coated fish business in the UK in conjunction with Caistor Seafoods and enhance synergies with Flatfish and Cite Marine.”

The latter is a French business, while Flatfish – a family entity like Three Oceans – has seen significant investment leading up to and following the deal.

Caistor Seafoods had been owned by New Zealand’s Sealord, a long time supplier to Waitrose, with the Keith Graham smokehouse in Grimsby also part of the operation. It sold up to concentrate on Southern Hemisphere operations.

Three Oceans specialises in cod, haddock, pollock, plaice – be it breaded, battered or gluten-free.

The Rose family had interests in distant water steam trawlers, as well as fish merchanting and transportation, evolving as the industry changed through the cod wars to source from international markets.

It has focused on forging strong partnerships with both suppliers and customers, with this strategy credited with the significant recent sales uplift, aided with the development of bespoke products.

The deal has seen a joint venture it was involved with, Lancaster-based Oceanic Seafoods, wholly taken over by managing director and founder Jim Welsh.

Launched in 2010, the £34 million turnover business imports and exports wild frozen and sustainably-sourced seafood, working with accredited factories and catching vessels throughout the world with a focus on the North Atlantic, Pacific Ocean and Barents Sea.

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