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Domestic demand for tuna and squid is driving profits and expansion at one of China’s largest offshore catch fisheries firms, which recently added new tuna-fishing vessels to its fleet. Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International Co. is predicting its profits will soar 90 percent year over year in 2012 — to CNY 125 million (USD 20 million, EUR 16 million) according to earnings guidance to investors, as reported by analysts at Chinese securities houses tracking the firm’s stock. The firm sells tuna and horse mackerel in China under its Longmen brand name.

Kaichuang, which will report its 2012 earnings in April, this month added its new large-scale Jinhu No.9 tuna vessel into service on 9 March. The vessel has an annual catch capacity of 80 million tons, twice the level of normal fish boats according to China Investment Securities. The Jinhu No.8 boat entered into service in 2012 and lifted the firm’s skipjack capacity from 34,000 tons in the first half of 2012 to 52,000 tons by year’s end.

The company will in 2013 expand operations in West Africa, the Antarctic and Greenland as well as the Faroe Islands. Kaichuang benefits from growing demand and rising prices for fish in China as well as government subsidies for fuel and new boats. CIC Securities points to bonito prices that rose 25 percent in the past 12 months, a CIC Securities analyst told SeafoodSource.

Skipjack prices roses 22 percent year over year in 2012 and will rise 5 percent in the first half of 2013, predicts the CIS analyst. The analyst said that, provided oil costs remain stable, Kaichuang’s profits will hit CNY 163 million (USD 26 million, EUR 21 million) in 2013 and rise to CNY 192 million (USD 31 million, EUR 24 million) in 2014. The use of tuna has soared in China in part due to the rapid spread of Japanese-style dining and fast food, as well as convenience food sold in fast-expanding grocery chains like Japanese-owned 7-11.

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