Chinese firms plan global acquisition spree

Executives from a Shanghai-based fishing company are celebrating this month as they integrate a new acquisition in Argentina. State owned Shanghai Jinyou Deep Sea Fisheries Co. has completed the purchase of Altamare SA, a shrimp and fish catcher/processor in Puerto Madryn, a city of about 70,000 people in the province of Chubut in the Patagonia region.

Part of the state-run Shanghai Fisheries General Corp. Group (SFGCG) conglomerate, Jinyou paid USD 21.5 million (EUR 15.8 million) for the Argentine firm in a statement published on the Shanghai Fisheries Bureau website which also declared Shanghai Jinyou sees the purchase as part of the company’s strategy to “go global” and buy fishing companies and resources around the world.

According to the Chinese statement, the Altamare purchase includes “four red shrimp ships, squid and cod ships and fishing licenses as well as 1,800 tons of cold storage space and 3,000 tons of processing capacity and 10,000 tons per year of pelagic resources.”

Puerto Madryn mayor Ricardo Sastre in late May received a Chinese delegation led by Shen Hui, who will serve as new president of Altamare, with new vice president Pan Fu Liang also taking a desk at the Argentinian port city. The Chinese executives promised to retain the current management and employees, Sastre told the provincial newspaper El Chubut, adding he was happy the Chinese would “continue to invest in the company and also in the city.” Also at the meeting was former director of Altamare, Alfonso Magán.

While it’s reluctant to take interviews, the Chinese firm in its official statement claims to have purchased Morocco firm Groupe Pelaqique Sentissi in 2013 and pledges to make more overseas acquisitions. “We want to be a first-class international seafood company,” the firm said in its statement.

As the Beijing government encourages local firms to secure resources around the world, state owned firms in China have the benefit of cheap financing from the country’s government-controlled banks. The China Development Bank, one of China’s policy lenders, has been a backer of numerous overseas acquisitions by Chinese energy and agricultural resource companies.

More deals look set to follow the Altamare buy. SFGCG, representing China’s biggest state-owned fishing firms, claims it has been seeking to expand its fishing operations in Morocco and in South America while several state and privately owned fishing firms in southeasterly Fujian province have been seeking to widen their nets in Africa. Claiming annual revenues of almost RMB 5 billion (USD 801.2 million, EUR 588.8 million), SFGCG has 30 subsidiaries fishing and processing around the globe.

With assets of RMB 220 million (USD 35.3 million, EUR 25.9 million) and trading value of over USD 20 million (EUR 14.7 million) in annual sales, Shanghai Jinyou Deep Sea Fisheries Co. has, according to the company website, “seven large squid jiggers, 6 tuna long-liners with sea water freezer and seven ultra-low temperature tuna long-liners … the company is engaged in squid fishing, tuna long-line fishing, fisheries products processing and trading.

“Company ships are operating in the Pacific and the Atlantic respectively for tuna and squid fishing in Argentina, Chile and Peru. The annual fishing yield is over 16 thousand tons, the products are mainly sold to South America, Europe, Japan and the domestic market.”


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