Archive for November, 2013

Channel Fisheries Has Netted A Buyer, But Have Its Fisherman Been Paid?

01 Nov

I posted on 17th October that Channel Fisheries had netted a buyer just hours after plunging into administration. Devon-based Channel Fisheries’ core business, plus its Fish At 85 restaurant and wholesale sideline in Cardiff, have both found buyers. Simon Girling and Graham Randall of accountancy firm BDO were appointed joint administrators of Channel Fisheries Ltd on 3 October 2013. Later that day, they oversaw the sale of the company’s business and assets at Brixham in Devon, Paignton in Devon and London to Seafood Holdings, which is a subsidiary of food service giant Bidvest Fresh. Then they completed the sale of its restaurant and wholesale operation, centred on the Fish At 85 restaurant in Cardiff, to Mandaco 777.

Well that sounds all very well and good. Especially over the weekend when I spoke to someone who told me that everything with Channel Fisheries was now back on an even keel. Cynical journalist that I am, it sounded too good to be true and so it appears to be. I heard yesterday from a very good source that that the keel was far from even. He then took the trouble to ring one of the fisherman involved with Channel Fisheries, and the ‘polite’ version, that’ you’d prefer to hear I’m sure, was that he had still not been paid. It seems sensible to assume that if he’s not been paid then other fisherman are likely to be in the same boat, sorry another bad pun. It’s unclear if the new buyers have taken on the old debts, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I’m not sure what these guys can do to get their money, if anything. It’s tough enough working for yourself without having the hassle of companies that don’t pay you for the job you have done.  Of course my concern is how many fishermen haven’t been paid? What’s the likelihood that they’ll ever receive that outstanding debt? I know more about the workings of Welsh food than I do about Welsh fish but no-one can say this is idea for those poor fishermen.

In October 2012, Channel Fisheries received investment from the £40m Wales SME Investment Fund which is managed by Finance Wales. The company received a £750,000 equity and debt investment. Sixty members of staff were employed.



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