Tuesday 26 May 2020

Europe’s biggest shrimp company Heiploeg is bankrupt

Dutch shrimp company Heiploeg was declared bankrupt on Tuesday but plans to launch an immediate restart as Heiploeg International.

The Groningen company, which was fined €27m last November for its role in a massive European shrimp cartel, is to become part of Katwijk fish processing company Parlevliet & Van der Plas, news website nu.nl reports.

In total, 60 full-time jobs will go. Heiploeg is based in the small town of Zoutkamp in Groningen and is European market leader.

The restart does mean some 300 jobs will be protected although pay and conditions will be reduced, the company is quoted as saying.

Difficult market

In total, Heiploeg employs 3,000 people worldwide, most of whom are in Morocco, India and Suriname. These units have been sold to the new owner.

Nu.nl says the company has been in serious financial trouble for some time and has debts of €130m. The company has been unable to get a grip on costs and has been hit by the difficult market and pressure on prices from supermarkets.

The EU fine should have been paid by Tuesday even though the company is appealing against the ruling, nu.nl says. The company said the fine is not to blame for the bankruptcy.

The job losses are another blow to the north-eastern part of the country. At the end of last year, another major employer, the aluminim smelter Aldel in Delfzijl, was declared bankrupt.

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