Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish supplier Unión Martín grows its fleet with latest acquisition

Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish supplier Unión Martín Group has acquired a significant stake in Mauritanian fishing company Societé Mauritanienne pour la Pêche Industrielle (SMPI), the firm announced on 4 December.

The agreement will see Mohamed Lemine Laroussi, Unión Martín’s Mauritanian partner, maintain a significant stake in SMPI and continue to manage the firm, which operates three freezer vessels and has a fishing capacity of 700 metric tons per year.

Unión Martín, which already had a preexisting agreement to supply raw materials captured by SMPI, will now also “obtain the margin generated by the ship-owner at sourcing,” it said in a press release announcing the acquisition.

“After this transaction, Unión Martín reinforces its vertical integration strategy and its positioning at sourcing, which remains essential for a product category with growing international demand such as cephalopods,” the company said.

Unión Martín, along with subsidiaries Palma Pesca and Fine Fishing, controls a fleet of 10 vessels in the FAO 34 designated fishing ground surrounding Morocco and Mauritania, “one of the most important cephalopod fishing areas in the world,” the company noted. Additionally, the firm – which is backed by Alantra Private Equity – holds a number of exclusive supply agreements with Moroccan ship-owners and collaborates with three processing plants managed by local partners in Mauritania.

Acquiring SMPI aligns with Unión Martín’s new strategic plan, which was developed following the incorporation of Alantra Private Equity into the shareholding of the firm in June 2018, the company said. This is the third transaction of this type made by the group – in September 2018, it completed its acquisition of Fine Fishing, and before that, in 2014, the firm purchased Palma Pesca.

Headquartered in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Unión Martín has spent more than 20 years consolidating itself as “one of the national leaders in the extraction, processing and marketing of seafood products with FAO 34 origin and strong specialization in cephalopods,” it said. Much of the company’s turnover corresponds to the national market, where it sells to the wholesale markets of Horeca and Mercadona in the Canary Islands. Unión Martín’s exports, which currently account for 20 percent of sales, reach a number of countries including Italy, Greece, the United States, Japan, China, and Uruguay.

Future plans for Unión Martín, per Alantra Private Equity, involve continuing to strengthen “the company's position at sourcing by adding new fishing vessels to its existing fleet as well as developing its processing capacity in order to improve client service and widen its product catalogue,” the investment firm said.

“Alantra Private Equity also plans to continue supporting Unión Martín's international expansion plan, one of the company's main growth pillars for the coming years, as well as continue to strengthen its management and institutionalisation process,” Alantra added.

On the sustainability front, Unión Martín announced that it recently joined the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), embracing the mission of the NGO as well as its Target 75 initiative.

"It is absolutely essential to have the participation of industry leaders like Unión Martín to ensure the sustainability of the global marine industry," SFP Deputy Division Director for Buyer Engagement Pedro Ferreiro said. "By supporting the initiative Target 75, companies like Union Martin are playing a very important role in protecting the global marine ecosystem.”

"We are proud to contribute to the sustainability of our oceans," Unión Martín CEO Fernando Soriano added. "Future generations must be able to experience the richness of the world's oceans and be able to live off them, just as we do today.”

Photo courtesy of Unión Martín Group


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