By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
Published on 14 March, 2012
Results released on Wednesday by one of the world’s largest salmon and sea trout producers, AquaChile, saw sales soar to USD 501 million (EUR 384 million) in 2011 — an increase of 29 percent from 2010, bringing year-end profits to USD 55 million (EUR 42 million).
The Chilean company based in Puerto Montt reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of USD 95 million (EUR 73 million) in 2011, up 65 percent from the previous year.
Operating in Chile, Costa Rica, Panama and with a sales office in the United States, AquaChile has made great strides in its objective to “feed the world with a healthy and environmentally sustainable protein,” diversifying into tilapia farming and fishmeal production via innovative supplier relationships.
In volume terms in 2011, AquaChile’s salmon and sea trout harvests reached 67,000 metric tons whole fish equivalent (WFE), with additional tilapia harvests of 17,000 metric tons (WFE).
Throughout the period, production centered on Atlantic salmon, Pacific salmon (Coho), sea trout and tilapia. The species’ good performances were behind AquaChile’s sales growth, particularly due to the company resuming Atlantic salmon harvesting last April.
The company’s international tilapia business also performed well, with production levels in Costa Rica and Panama reaching 17,000 metric tons.
“These favorable results leave us in a good position to take further advantage of business opportunities and realize the AquaChile growth plan. We have solid foundations to advance the development and consolidation of the company at national and international level,” said CEO Alfonso Márquez de la Plata.
In a statement to SeafoodSource, the company explained the rationale behind key initiatives and partnership projects undertaken last year.
“On 19 May 2011, the company raised USD 373 million (EUR 286 million) from its IPO, firstly to finance the company growth plan with investments of USD 470 million (EUR 360 million) over the next five years; secondly to secure financial flexibility pre-paying USD 233 million (EUR 178 million) to reduce its debt balance; thirdly to participate in industry consolidation.
“The growth plan aims to achieve more than 170,000 metric tons (WFE) of salmon and sea trout, and more than 40,000 metric tons (WFE) of tilapia by 2016.
“During 2011, in line with our growth plan, we invested USD 41 million (EUR 31.4 million) in capital expenditures associated with the implementation of new fish farms and improving our current operations in accordance with the new aquaculture legal framework.
“We also started construction of a new recirculation hatchery, Salmones Chaicas with a capacity for 120 million disease-free Atlantic salmon eggs and 4.2 million Atlantic salmon smolts in a first stage, where AquaChile participates with 18.31 percent ownership.
“We continued with the construction of a state-of-the-art research facility for our genetic subsidiary, Aquainnovo. We started the construction of a new tilapia feed plant in Costa Rica in association with Biomar, and the construction of a new pet food flavoring plant from tilapia organic disposal in association with SPF in Costa Rica.
“During 2011, AquaChile invested USD 10.7 million (EUR 8.2 million) for 6.12 percent of Fiordo Austral, a salmon and sea trout organic disposal processing company.”