Blueshell Mussels acquires SNPC Ltd

Blueshell Mussels is to purchase the Mid-Yell crab processing company, SNPC Ltd, and will relocate the business to the former vacant Ronas fish factory at Heylor in Northmavine at the end of May. The new business will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Blueshell Mussels Ltd and operate under the name ‘Shetland Crab Ltd’.

Managing director of Blueshell Mussels, Michael Laurenson, said: “We are delighted to have found a way to protect this long-established business and safeguard the crab-processing sector in Shetland.

“We will be creating a number of efficiencies to develop the business – the most significant of which is moving to smaller yet more efficient premises at Heylor. The premises are currently being refurbished to a very high standard to allow high-care crab processing to meet the stringent quality standards expected by our customers.

“It was vital to us that SNPC’s very experienced and highly skilled crab processing staff moved to the new facility, so we are delighted that the majority of the current workforce will re-locate to the new premises.

“We are confident that we can develop the business through Blueshell’s existing customer base by providing a wider portfolio of MSC accredited shellfish products.”

SNPC Ltd was first established by Henry Krantz in 1968. Mr Krantz was a highly motivated individual who wanted to give something back to the people of Shetland, in respect of the Shetland - Norway historic legacy that was established through the Shetland Bus operation. He set up the crab processing factory in Mid Yell.  The main objective of the business was to provide a sustainable livelihood to as many local people as possible, (without making a loss.)

Anders Offerdal of SNPC said: “A generation has past, and with the majority of the business owners (including the late Henry’s son, Päl) now over retirement age, it is important that the values and relationships which have been built up over the past 44 years continue and that the business has a secure future, in order to safeguard the workforce, the fishermen and the long term markets that the business has established (particularly the sought-after John West canning contract).

“When Michael Laurenson approached the owners over a year ago, Blueshell Mussels was considered a tentative good-fit as a potential purchaser.  Blueshell already enjoys a good reputation, gained over 15 years of operation, for fairness, consistency, strong local employment values and with a proven track record in shellfish catching, growing and processing. Michael also had a passion and vision for the future of the industry.”

Michael Laurenson concluded: “We look forward to building on the legacy and foresight of Henry Krantz and the SNPC crab processing business, where product is value added in Shetland, and this allows the maximum returns possible to remain within the wider local economy.

“Indeed it is quite unique that, with so much Norwegian interest in the assets in our islands that a business can change to local ownership. These are exciting times for the industry, especially with the MSC platform on which to build and market the ‘Shetland’ provenance and the sustainability of our fishery.

“We firmly believe that for the industry to maximise the benefits that MSC presents - and before other fisheries follow and we lose our early advantage - that we grasp the potential that the accreditation provides and seek to create the best long term benefit from the identity and sustainability of the Shetland crab fishery, and where, ultimately, the greatest benefits are retained in the Shetland economy.”