Spanish vertically integrated seafood company Iberica de Congelados (Iberconsa) will invest up to €27 million in its Argentine and Namibian operations, the company's CEO announced. Following its private equity Portobello Capital majority stake acquisition in Iberconsa, the seafood company will carry out a “strong investment plan” to boost Argentina shrimp output and to enhance Namibia's plant capabilities in value-added production.
“We have an investment planned for 2016; we'll buy four new shrimp vessels in Argentina,” Iberconsa CEO Alberto Freire said. “The four-vessel acquisition will total up to €25 million.”
Each shrimp vessel has a catch capacity of about 1.000 metric tons per year, and Iberconsa expects an annual production of about 10.000 tons after adding the new vessels to its Argentine fleet.
“With this move, we want to become one of the leading fishing firms in Argentina, as we'll be among the top four Argentine shrimp companies,” Freire said.
Pro-business measures announced by recently elected Argentine president Mauricio Macri, such as the elimination of export taxes or the lifting of currency controls, are expected to increase exports and spur economic growth, which is seen by Freire as a “positive scenario” for Iberconsa's future operations in Argentina.
“The important thing now is that markets work, especially that the new government contains inflation,” Freire said.
Despite a decrease in Argentine shrimp prices year-on-year, Freire said production costs due to inflation were the biggest challenge in Argentina this year. On the other hand, China continues being the most important emerging market for Argentine shrimp, said Fernando Lago, sales director with Iberconsa
“Today, China is the fastest-growing market. There are many interesting markets, but none of them grows at the same pace as China,” Lago said.