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Haulage company up for sale

SHETLAND’S salmon and haulage industries have played down reports that local transport firm JBT is up for sale.

JBT is one of two companies that specialise in transporting Shetland farmed salmon to market and employs about 15 people in the isles.

Two years ago the company was sold for £2.8 million to Bathgate-based MRS Distribution, which itself was put on the market last month after experiencing financial difficulties.

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The company called in financial consultants KPMG who are reported to have given potential buyers just 10 days to register an interest in the company.

On Tuesday KPMG refused to comment on the sale, though there have been reports of interest from within the industry.

In Shetland the transport industry expressed mystification at the development, saying that information about the sale was “patchy”.

One commentator said: “The industry will be looking for stability and this type of thing will create uncertainty for the market, but at the end of the day who would be interested in buying this company given its remoteness and speciality.”

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While MRS itself has a major operation in England and may draw the interest of the country’s large hauliers, JBT concentrate in northern Scotland and the northern isles.

They employ 140 people with 50 vehicles and 70 trailers in their depots across Scotland.

David Sandison, of fish farming trades association Shetland Aquaculture, said the news was of little interest to his members.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to us,” Mr Sandison said.

“If you suddenly find the person you made a contract with isn’t there any more you go and get your fish hauled by someone else.”

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