25 jobs saved as troubled dried fish business bought out of administration
Dried fish for sale on a street market in Nigeria. Siya, pictured, received a start-up grant from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Picture: Twitter/ @ICRC_Africa
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Mar 2018
A GRIMSBY-AREA company which supplies dried fish to Nigeria, and found itself caught up in money-moving restrictions to counter a deep recession, has been bought out of administration, securing the future of 25 employees.
The business and assets of JHS Fish Ltd, based in Stallingborough, have been sold as a going concern to JHS Export Ltd, led by existing directors Jon Thor Stefansson and Olafur Magnus Einarsson.
Julie Palmer, regional managing partner at business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor, managed the sale with joint administrator Sally Richards, having been appointed last month.
Mrs Palmer said the Trondheim Way-based business had begun to hit financial problems following a “sharp but prolonged recession” in the African nation, with currency restrictions put in place by the Nigerian Government adversely affecting cash flow.
She said: “The Nigerian market had been in a sharp recession and there were signs of stability and after the company went through some restructuring, the trade with Nigeria looked promising. However, the Nigerian market went into a deeper and longer recession than originally anticipated. Things started to improve in late 2017 but the Central Bank of Nigeria continued to enforce currency restrictions leading to difficulties in getting funds out of the country. Despite the best efforts to increase the export price and reduce costs, the company ran into financial difficulties.
“The management team made every effort to turn things around, but in January they had reached a stage where they were unable to continue. They did the right thing in turning for advice, and we were quickly able to establish that a sale out of administration was the best course of action, meaning the company can now face the future with a greater degree of confidence. We were delighted to also be able to ensure the future jobs of the employees.”
The JHS group of companies was founded in Iceland in 1995, with the Stallingborough plant opened in 2005, capitalising on the town’s seafood cluster and supply opportunities, as it focused on substitute product for whole dried fish. A Canadian plant was added in 2009, with Far East operations also established.
A West African delicacy, rich in Omega Three and with a high protein content, JHS specialises in drying the fish, giving it a long shelf life.