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May 26, 2022

Thai Union German unit eyes factory closure

Rügen Fisch said European canned-seafood markets “have seen headwinds in recent years”.

By Dean Best

Rügen Fisch, Thai Union Group’s German subsidiary, plans to shut a plant in the north of the country.

The company wants to move production to its other site further east in Rügen. Some 200 staff will be affected. Talks with employee representatives have begun.

Rügen Fisch insisted the firm’s management “would like to retain as many employees as possible” and is exploring how to help staff move to the other facility, which is 160 miles away.

In a statement, Rügen Fisch said: “The German and European canned seafood markets have seen headwinds in recent years. Rising labour, energy, ingredient and packaging costs – together with high fish and raw material prices – have led to an increasingly difficult market environment since 2019.”

It added: “This transfer of production is crucial for Rügen Fisch to ensure the long-term viability of the group and to strengthen the position of the long-standing Hawesta brand to remain as competitive as possible.”

Rügen Fisch supplies ambient and chilled fish including herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna. The company markets products under brands such as Rügen Fisch, Hawesta and Lysell. The German firm also supplies private-label lines.

Thai Union struck a deal in May last year to buy the 49% of Rügen Fisch it did not already own. The Thailand-based seafood giant acquired 51% of the business through a transaction announced in late 2015.

In October last year, Thai Union announced plans to close a salmon and smoked fish plant in Poland operated by the Bangkok-listed firm’s French subsidiary.

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