Young's and Findus united amid market challenges

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chief executive officer

Young's Seafood and Findus will form a unified structure under
their private equity firm owner CapVest to form a stronger
organisation to deal with rising raw material costs.

The companies' finance, purchasing and human resources functions will be centralised so more resources can be put into the seafood side. The new structure, known as the Foodvest Group, will become effective from February 1. "Today we are faced with significant market challenges such as continuing inflation in food raw material costs and rising consumer expectations of our industry,"​ said Per Harkjaer, who will assume the role as group CEO. "We need to continue to be highly focused, efficient and innovative to deliver on the fantastic opportunities we have before us." ​A company spokesperson told FoodNavigator.com that there would be no job losses in the pooling of administrative resources, nor was it a way of cutting costs. However she did say that the measure is based on a desire to build a stronger company and be more economical. Young's drew attention to other factors affecting food manufacturers in the current climate: "The strategy of Foodvest is to continue to lead consolidation in the European food sector whilst being at the forefront of product development and responsible food policies," it said. ​Young's stated intention is "to be a world leader in responsible seafood sourcing and good environmental practice." ​Youngs has already established its own policies for sustainable fishing, developing a Fish for Life policy to govern its sourcing decisions, which it hopes to grow on through the union. ​The UK business of Young's will be reformed into two separate businesses. Young's Seafood will operate as a branded business and will concentrate primarily on continued brand development in frozen and chilled seafood, while The Seafood Company will focus on chilled seafood products for retailer own label. The structure of Findus AB in Europe will remain largely unchanged. The group will have a turnover of £1.1bn (€1.5bn). The two companies are currently quite equally balanced financially, with Young's annual turnover being £600m (€802m) and Findus making up the rest. ​CapVest acquired Young's in 2002 and Findus in 2006. Until now they have operated as separate sister companies. The Foodvest Group will comprise leading operations in the UK, France, Sweden, Norway and Finland, with growing businesses in Denmark and Eastern Europe. ​Wynne Griffiths, currently chief executive of Young's seafood, will become non-executive chairman of the Foodvest Group, while Mike Parker will take the role of deputy CEO, taking responsibility of driving the group's sustainability agenda.

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