UK-based Young’s Seafood has won three “significant” contracts with retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) but has revealed it is to exit deli and meals production from its Pinneys site in Annan, Scotland, saying the operation is no longer financially sustainable.

Closure will mean the loss of 450 jobs, although the company says it will need to recruit up to 250 people at other sites in Annan and Grimsby, its home base in eastern England.

Young’s – owned by investment houses Lion Capital, Bain Capital and HPS Investment Partners – said its new contracts will see it supply M&S with chilled and frozen coated fish, natural salmon and white fish from 2018 to 2023.

Last week Young’s was widely tipped to take on some of the business of Grimsby’s Five Star Fish, which is set to close.

Five Star – owned by 2 Sisters Group – has contracts with M&S. It was not immediately clear whether the new contracts announced by Young’s are ones Five Star can no longer fulfil but Young’s has since told just-food that the “coated contract” is one which is currently undertaken by Five Star.

Young’s decision to close the Annan site follows a review of the company’s UK operations. It proposes to move the remaining natural salmon production undertaken at the Pinneys site to Young’s existing natural salmon facility at its Humberstone Road site in Grimsby.

It said the plan continues the company’s ‘One Young’s’ strategy in seeking to focus investments on “centres of excellence” to ensure the company is best positioned for future growth in the context of exceptionally challenging market conditions. 

Young’s will now commence a formal consultation with staff and their representatives at the Young’s Pinneys site to discuss and consider options. 

The proposed site closure would result in the loss of 450 roles from the Young’s Pinneys site before the end of this year.

But the company said it would then need to recruit 200 new roles in Grimsby, in addition to recruiting up to 50 roles at its scampi factory in Annan to support growth. 

It added that employees at Young’s Pinneys would be given preference over new recruitment.

Bill Showalter CEO of Young’s Seafood, said: “The decision by M&S to partner with Young’s to supply its chilled and frozen coated fish, white fish and natural salmon underlines our continued position as the UK’s leading seafood supplier. Together with M&S, we will aim to inspire people to love fish now and for generations to come.

“Today’s proposals to close our Young’s Pinneys site does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams at Young’s Pinneys – they are a credit to our company and if these proposals do go ahead we will work hard to maintain the employment of all colleagues throughout this transition.”