A leading Grimsby employer tells of value of being completely town-focused
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 28 Jan 2019
FLYING into 2019 after four strong years of growth, Grimsby's Seachill is eyeing up a top spot as a leading employer in the town.
For years Young's Seafood has held the proud position when it comes to headcount, but ambition is clear from the second spot holder, with further expansion plans in the pipeline.
Simon Smith, managing director of the £350 million turnover company – a huge supplier of chilled fish to Tesco and others – told a Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce lunch how being based entirely in Grimsby was paying dividends.
"We employ 1,550 people, all in Grimsby," he said.
"We operate from two large sites and are 100 per cent Grimsby. There is a theme here and this sets us apart from other businesses in our sector.
"I'd say it is a pivotal part of our business, we can put our arms around the entire business every single day. The two sites are five minutes apart, we can influence, lead and engage every single day.
Mark Warburton, North East Lincolnshire area chair of Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce; Simon Smith, managing director of Seachill; Sally Booker, president of Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce and Simon Dwyer, Grimsby Fish Merchants' Association secretariat, at Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce lunch at The Oaklands Hotel, Laceby.
"For the other two or three close to us, they pretty much have to get on a plane, they don’t have the same interaction that we can achieve."
Young's has its iconic Ross House on Port of Grimsby East, as well as an enlarged facility spanning Ladysmith Road and Humberstone Road, with further production in the shadow of the HQ. While there has been significant consolidation into the town, where it employs 1,681 people, it retains a strong presence in Scotland.
Seachill was brought back into British ownership in 2017, with Hilton Food Group acquiring it from Icelandic Group. It followed a flattening of three businesses in the same ownership into one, with Coldwater and a trading operation united as Seachill – which was span out of its cross-town rival back in 1998.
"It would have happened a lot sooner had it not been for Icelandic crash in the first decade of the millennium," Mr Smith said.
"In 2014 we brought the businesses together, and the rest - they say - is history. We've had an incredible market record since then. Both sales and profit are doing incredibly well."
For Seachill, major expansion of the South Humberside Industrial Estate plant is nearing completion, and a proposal to double the Great Grimsby Business Park site is on the agenda.
It may be that 2019 sees it emerge as the largest chilled fish business in the UK, with Tesco placing a major shell fish contract there.
- This article, filed following the speech, has been amended after it was found figures from the two leading businesses, used in the presentation, were taken from different reporting periods. To clarify Young's has 1,681 permanent employees, to Seachill's 1,550. We apologise for any confusion reporting of this oversight may have caused.