A longstanding North Tyneside fishery is back in North East hands after a local entrepreneur bought it from the national operator to which he sold his shareholding three years ago.
Andy Dixon has purchased the North Shields-based operation of Scottish fishing and offshore business Caley Fisheries, which provides vessel management, chandlery, fish processing and fish sales services to offshore operators working along the coast from the Scottish border down to North Yorkshire.
Andy was one of several shareholders who sold to Caley Fisheries in 2017, but he has continued to run the business since then and moved to buy it back through his own company, 55 Fisheries, when the opportunity arose.
The well-known Caley building and the fish processing facility on the North Shields Fish Quay, which cover 800 square metres between them, have been purchased as part of the deal, while all 18 members of the former Caley team are staying in post.
Andy Dixon is also hoping to create a number of new jobs next year as his plans for developing the business are put into action, its annual turnover grows to a target of £5m and its export activities to continental Europe increase.
Mark Adams of the specialist corporate & commercial team acted on behalf of 55 Fisheries in the acquisition, with colleagues Sarah Hall, Nicola Tiffen and Ricky Handa covering the employment and commercial property aspects.
David Hodgson of North Shields-based accountants Read Milburn provided financial advice on the deal, while Paul Marshall of NatWest Bank is providing banking service to 55 Fisheries.
Andy Dixon says: “Having worked for the business for the past 34 years and managed it since 1995, it obviously means a lot to me personally, and getting the chance to take it over was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
“Being able to make local decisions was a big part of the appeal of this acquisition. There are very few operations of our type along the English east coast, and as similar ones in other parts of the country have diminished, we’ve been able to bring in more business from elsewhere, a trend that we want to see continue.
“The response we’ve had from the businesses working on the Fish Quay and the offshore fleet has been really positive and we’ve got an excellent team in place that knows the industry inside out.
“Without the support and expert advice we’ve had from Hay & Kilner and Read Milburn, there’s no way this deal would have happened.
“Paul Marshall’s knowledge and understanding of our industry has also proved vital, and we’re excited about the prospects for developing the business next year and beyond.”
Mark Adams, partner in Hay & Kilner’s corporate & commercial team, adds: “Andy and his team have unrivalled industry knowledge and a clear vision for how they’re going to apply it to the business’s future development.
“Getting deals completed in the present circumstances obviously presents its own unique challenges, but the focus and positive approach of all parties has helped us reach this successful conclusion.”
David Hodgson, partner at Read Milburn, says: “Andy is held in huge regard by everyone in the fishing industry in North Shields and across a much wider area, and it has been a pleasure to work with him of achieving his personal goals of establishing 55 Fisheries.
“The company’s progress with Andy at the helm will ensure the further development of North Shields as a fishing port and is another financial success story for North Tyneside.”