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Demlane staff made redundant

SIX WORKERS at a Shetland mussel processing plant have been made redundant as the Demlane’s factory at the Kirkdale industrial estate, in Walls, closed its doors on Friday

On Thursday, Isles of Shuna plc and its subsidiary Demlane called in the administrators in an attempt to sell the processing operation as a going concern.

But on Friday, a spokeswoman for administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers, confirmed that six local people had now lost their jobs.

Three office staff based at Bathgate, near Edinburgh, will continue to be employed because of their “specific financial knowledge”.

The spokeswoman added that during the last 24 hours the administrators had already received “positive indications of interest in buying the processing plan” from a number of companies.

Joint administrator Graham Frost had said on Thursday that the company had encountered cash flow problems and an attempt to restructure the business had failed due to a lack of working capital.

As part of the restructuring exercise, the 15 Shetland mussel farming sites owned by Demlane had been sold to Shetland’s largest player in the world of shellfish farming, Blueshell Mussels, at the end of last month.

Meanwhile, Blueshell Mussels has entered into an agreement with SI Seafarms Limited to manage the sites. The SI sites were previously managed by Demlane.

Mussel farming insiders in Shetland have been watching recent developments with amazement, describing them as “obscure and strange”, and difficult to get one’s head around.

Mussel farming is a relatively new industry to Shetland that has created many jobs in rural areas.

Seen as a green way of harvesting a much sought after seafood, the industry is generally regarded as profitable.