ALMOST 400 jobs have been saved after the collapse of a food company.
Seaham-based Cumbrian Seafoods went into administration yesterday – but was immediately sold to part of the group which owns rival firm Young’s.
Accountants PwC were appointed as joint administrators of the firm and sister company Border Laird Limited.
They immediately confirmed the sale of the business, customer contracts and equipment to a wholly owned subsidiary of Lion Capital, which owns Young’s.
Rising raw material costs and reductions in business activity were blamed for the decision to go into administration.
The takeover secures the immediate future of the firm’s operations across its three sites in the north.
The principal processing site at Seaham employs 378 people, with 117 working at Whitehaven in Cumbria and 79 at Amble in Northumberland.
PwC Newcastle director Sean Hamilton said: “The sale means it remains business as usual for customers and staff.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to secure a sale of the business, enable the transfer of all employees and preserve the continuity of supply to customers in the run-up to Christmas.”
Cumbrian Seafoods chief executive Peter Vassallo added: “Whilst I recognise that it is a difficult time for all concerned, this transaction is in the best interests of our employees and customers.”
North East Euro MP Fiona Hall said: “This has clearly been a difficult time for the company, and it is a real shame that it has been forced into administration.
“However, I welcome the swift transition to new ownership. This prevents weeks or months of further uncertainty for the staff.
“More than 450 local jobs depend on the success of this deal.
“If it safeguards the long term future of the sites at Amble and Seaham, it will prove to be very good news.”
Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “I am very disappointed by the news that Cumbrian Seafoods, which employs 378 people in Seaham, has gone into administration.
“Whilst it is good news that a buyer has been found immediately and all staff have been transferred, this will be a very difficult and uncertain time for the workforce and their families.
“I am offering all practical support to sustain these jobs and the contribution that this factory makes to the local economy.
“There will now be a formal period of consultation and I am seeking a meeting with management and trade unions.”