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Smolts from Grieg Seafood Shetland's Girlsta hatchery are helping to underpin the new strategy. Image: Rob Fletcher.
Smolts from Grieg Seafood Shetland's Girlsta hatchery are helping to underpin the new strategy. Image: Rob Fletcher.

Rumours surrounding the possible takeover of Greig Seafood Shetland (GSS) were rife at last week’s Aquaculture UK event.

Despite the Shetland firm keeping quiet about its own feelings on the matter, it is clear that a number of companies would be interested should the opportunity to buy it arise and one source told Fish Farming Expert that Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) were perhaps the keenest.

“It might just be a coincidence,” they said, “but Jim Gallagher [MD of SSF] has been visiting Shetland a lot recently.”

And, they believe, SSF is perhaps a more likely candidate than Shetland’s other existing producer, Cooke Aquaculture, due to their search for a RAS facility to service their Shetland and Orkney sites.

“Even if Cooke did take over the farm sites, I doubt they would be so interested in taking over the RAS at Girlsta, as they already have sufficient smolt capacity at Quoys. SSF, on the other hand, have long been known to have an interest in building or acquiring an RAS system and Girlsta would have the capacity to produce sufficient smolt numbers to supply their Shetland operations,” they argue.

However, another source in Shetland voiced the feeling that it would be a strange time for GSS to sell.

"Their recently published Q1 report showed the company to be performing badly, which makes it an inopportune time to sell up," they argue.

Cooke Aquaculture, which also has operations on Shetland, has declined to comment, while industry sources have touted Dawnfresh – the Uddingston-based trout producer and seafood processor – as another potential buyer.