2 Sisters Food Group is said to be exploring the sale of its Irish seafood unit Donegal Catch with owner Ranjit Singh Boparan reportedly set to collect GBP50m (US$70.2m) from the deal.

UK-based poultry processor 2 Sisters has hired corporate financial advisers Clearwater International to look into the potential sale, according to a report in The Sunday Times newspaper yesterday (25 February).

A disposal of Donegal Catch would come hot on the heels of another deal reached in January, when UK frozen foods group Nomad Foods was said to have agreed to pay EUR225m (US$277.4m) for the Goodfella’s and San Marco pizza brands from 2 Sisters’ parent company Boparan Holdings.

Following last year’s food hygiene scare at 2 Sisters’ West Bromwich site in the Midlands, which resulted in a temporary shutdown at the factory and an appearance by Boparan at a UK parliamentary hearing, the company reported a 58.2% drop in first-quarter operating profit in December to GBP8.4m and noted the impact from the disruption at the facility on its earnings.

While sales improved 3.8% to GBP849m, the firm’s net debt ticked up to GPB823.6m from GBP777.6m a year earlier.

Meanwhile, earlier in February, 2 Sisters said it planned to shut down three loss-making poultry plants located in the West Midlands and South Lanarkshire, putting 900 jobs at risk.

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Around 450 positions were set to go at its factory in Cambuslang near Glasgow, along with 350 at Smethwick and 100 at Wolverhampton, both in the West Midlands. A consultation process is underway to determine the number of job losses and the timing of the factory closures, a 2 Sisters’ spokesperson told just-food on 9 February.

However, the company said 1,000 new jobs would be created at other sites as it invests in more profitable areas of the business.