Scottish food processing plant set to reopen creating 120 jobs

A food processing firm is to create 120 jobs by taking over the former Pinneys of Scotland seafood plant that closed last year.

Fergus Ewing. Picture: John Devlin

Bhagat Holdings has received £1.7 million from ministers to buy the factory and plans to start production this autumn.

The Surrey-based firm adds coatings and panko breadcrumbs to seafood and poultry for food supply companies such as Brakes.

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It also supplies “filet-O-fish” to McDonald’s in Eastern Europe.

Bhagat Holdings said there was the potential to add further jobs at the Annan site, although the initial total is only a quarter of the 450 employed by Young’s Seafood before it pulled out in September.

Young’s switched its salmon production to Grimsby.

The Scottish Government said its funding of Bhagat, through a Scottish Enterprise regional selective assistance grant, was “to support the company to expand its European interests to Scotland”.

It said Bhagat Holdings would invest £9m of capital funding in the site.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is great news for the people of Annan, and for the south of Scotland more generally.

“I’m delighted that an international company like Bhagat Holdings has chosen to invest in Scotland, with the immediate creation of a significant number of jobs, which will make a real difference to local people and the local economy.

“When Young’s closed last summer, I said we would leave no stone unturned and we would keep working to find a solution and an alternative use for this site.

“That hard work has now paid off and it is Annan and the local community and families who will benefit.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “It will be a real lift for the local economy after a very difficult year and I’m sure one of the attractions to the buyer was the excellent skills base, flexibility and dedication shown over many years of the local workforce.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray said: “I hope it signals an upturn in the region’s economy. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work, both with prospective investors and to ensure those affected by the closure were supported into alternative employment.

“Some employees may return to the site, but this could also mean new jobs for the area.”