By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
Published on Tuesday, March 27 2012
The Morpol Group, Poland’s leading producer of smoked, marinated, fresh and frozen salmon, is targeting Spanish consumers as part of its European expansion plans.
Having completed its divestment of Spanish gilthead bream and sea bass aquaculture company Culmarex when it was sold to Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture last August, Morpol aims to extend its smoked salmon range via Spanish food retailer Eroski in an effort to dramatically increase volumes throughout the country.
Until now, Morpol accounted for some 25 percent of sales in Spanish discount chain Día, in addition to supplying smoked salmon to German supermarkets Lidl and Aldi via European agreements with its German subsidiary Laschinger Seafood.
Morpol currently holds 8 percent of salmon retail sales in Spain, representing some 450 metric tons annually. In 2011, the company’s sales surpassed EUR 495 million (USD 660 million), up 15.1 percent from the previous year.
Managing its sales, processing and packaging activities from its headquarters at Ustka on the Baltic coast of northwestern Poland, Morpol was founded in 1996 and employs more than 3,000 people in eight countries.
Morpol’s first foray into the European smoked salmon market came in 2007 with its Laschinger acquisition, followed by new operations in the United Kingdom and France in 2008, and in Italy in 2010. In addition to sales offices in the United States and Japan, the company has had salmon-farming activities in Scotland since 2010 and Norway since 2011.
Though unable to provide SeafoodSource with a comment on Morpol’s Spanish expansion plans by press time, Morpol COO John-Paul McGinley acknowledged in his corporate finance statement earlier this month that “a short Christmas led to an unusual pattern in smoked salmon volume development and weaker growth in Spain’s home salmon consumption during last quarter 2011.”
The company established new sales operations on the Iberian Peninsula earlier this year and sees Spain as an opportunity to initiate direct sales efforts across the country.