According to Duncan Willey, who is a chartered surveyor with the commercial property agency PPH Commercial, this is an extremely important sale. As the man who closed the deal, he’s certainly in a position to know. The 13.5 acre site, on Ladysmith Road, is made up of six buildings. These include an office block and cold stores, important components required by Young’s.
“It’s not every day that you get the chance to acquire a premises right next door to your existing facility and it proved to be too good to turn down,” said Willey. “I imagine the new owners will have a long-term plan to upgrade the facilities and bring new life to the buildings, which could be a key part of their future plans. Hopefully, they will be able to incorporate this sizeable acquisition into a successful long-term business plan to win new contracts and potentially create hundreds of new food jobs.”
It’s a good boost for the local area, which has been left bereft since the site closed down in May 2017. XPO had bought it in 2015 for £2.3 million, and simply weren’t able to make it work. 60 jobs were lost at the time of closure, so it is hoped that those positions will now be brought back under new guises – albeit in a different industry entirely.
This could certainly be considered to be a very bold move for Young’s. It was only in recent months that the company announced they were looking for a buyer, and last month they also lost a contract to supply Asda with whitefish and shrimp products. No longer having the business of the third largest supermarket in the UK is certainly a huge blow, and there has been a lot of speculation about the future of the company as a whole.
Even so, this new purchase does seem to suggest that the manufacturer is committed to staying in Grimsby and keeping their production going. And there is a glimmer of hope – the US exports for the company grew and they also managed to gain some wins in UK foodservice and retail areas. Those gains helped to boost their sales in the past year, but unfortunately, their full year financial report still showed a profit slide.
The question to be answered now, then, for all those in production and manufacturing jobs at the fish processor, is whether they have made a good decision or a poor one. Have they just made a costly investment at a time when they need to be cutting back, which they will ultimately never be able to recoup? Or are they hatching a plan which will see them bouncing back, possibly with the help of this new site?
Some may certainly be worried that they will make cutbacks and sales elsewhere now that they have a more convenient location right where they want it – and they certainly got a good deal on the facility, given how it was priced just three years ago.
The ending of this ongoing saga remains to be revealed, and is certainly open to speculation. Either way, there are sure to be a lot of people within the Young’s organisation who are waiting with bated breath to find out how they are going to turn this sinking ship around.