An Argentine fishing firm is about to sell its fleet to a Chinese company in a $95 million deal.
One Chinese firm with government backing will acquire Continental Armadores de Pesca SA’s (Conarpesa) 12 vessels with freezing on board capability, local publication Revista Puerto said. The name of the firm remains a secret, the publication said.
Undercurrent News sources, however, said it is thought the buyer is Shanghai Fisheries General Corporation (Group), a state-owned fishing giant which claims to have turnover of over $1 billion.
Back in 2014, Shanghai Jinyou Deep Sea Fisheries Co., a subsidiary of the Shanghai Fisheries, paid $21.5m in cash for a 100% interest in Argentina’s Altamare, giving control of shrimp fishing vessels, licenses and a processing plant.
The Chinese company could not be reached for comment by Undercurrent.
Shanghai Fisheries is also the ultimate parent of Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International, which acquired Spanish tuna canner Conservas Albo for €60.99m in cash earlier in the year, according to an organizational chart on the company’s website (see below).
Conarpesa will keep its shrimp vessels used for the onshore freezing industry and its two processing plants in southern Chubut province.
Negotiations between the two companies have been ongoing for months and only recently was a valuation agreed on for the 12 vessels that are located in the port of Puerto Madryn.
The company has carried out a 90-day technical and financial audit of Conarpesa’s assets. The deal is due to be signed in Buenos Aires either this week or next.
Conarpesa in 2014 reached a $42m agreement with two Chinese companies to sell shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) and squid (Illex argentinus).
China going overseas
According to its website, Shanghai Fisheries is undertaking a strategic plan to “develop overseas fisheries industry and have the products returned to China”.
The company’s aim, and thus the aim of the Chinese government, is to be a “leading international fishing group”.
Shanghai Fisheries has already set up 18 joint ventures or representative offices in 10 countries, its website states.
The group consists of over 30 companies, with total assets of RMB 5bn ($748.57 million). Group turnover is RMB 7bn ($1.04bn), according to the company’s website.
Shanghai Fisheries owns over 80 assorted vessels, including large stern factory trawlers, tuna purse seiners, tuna longliners and others, with annual catch over 150,000 metric tons.
In April, Shanghai Kaichuang closed a deal for Albo, to spearhead its international expansion into the tuna processing business.
Using the Albo brand will improve the company’s trading brand overseas, the company said in a regulatory filing after the board unanimously approved an international expansion.
Shanghai Kaichuang will invest a maximum of CNY 840m (€112m) in Albo and build a €26m tuna processing factory in Zhoushan, China, an industrial city located 300 kilometers away from Shanghai.
Albo will continue to exist as a separate entity, receiving a €36.6m loan from the Chinese company to boost its working capital.
Fishing boats at the port, Mar del Plata, Argentina
The Chinese company said in December it would invest CNY 200m in developing a tuna processing base, according to a regulatory filing.
Shanghai Kaichuang has a joint venture with US-based tuna trading giant Tri Marine.
Albo, the third-largest tuna brand in Spain after Calvo and Isabel, had been family owned since 1869.
Tags: 12 fishing vessels, acquired Spanish tuna canner Conservas Albo, Chinese companies want to sell shrimp, Conarpesa’s assets, processing plants, Shanghai Fisheries, Shanghai Fisheries General Corporation, Shanghai Jinyou Deep Sea Fisheries, Shanghai Kaichuang, Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International, Spain tuna brand, Spanish Tuna company, tuna processing, US-based tuna trading giant Tri Marine