Merged bass and bream giant plans value-added, new species growth
New Mediterranean fish farming group AVRAMAR – formed by the merger of Andromeda Group, Nireus, Selonda, and Perseus – will combine the best of the Greek and Spanish aquaculture sectors and invest in its hatcheries, new and existing farms, and also in its processing capabilities to get its fish products on the tables of millions of people around the world, according to CEO Alex Myers.
With a total volume production in excess of 70,000 metric tons (MT), and current sales in more than 30 markets, the merger sees the EUR 400 million (USD 485.7 million) turnover AVRAMAR becoming the world’s largest seabass and seabream bream producer, and the largest producer of Mediterranean fish.
The name “AVRAMAR” is a combination of the Greek word “avra” meaning “breeze” in Greek, and the Spanish “mar,” meaning “sea.”
Outlining Valencia, Spain-headquartered AVRAMAR’s global strategy for the next four to five years, Myers said by operating as one company under a common brand, the company will herald a new beginning for aquaculture in Greece and Spain, while also providing a platform for “long-lasting, deeper partnerships” with consumers, customers, employees, and communities. At the same time, he said that investments across its fish farming, hatchery, and processing capacity to produce bigger and higher-quality fish as well as an expanded product portfolio, will provide the platform to capitalize on the growing international popularity of the Mediterranean diet and the region’s cuisine.
While 2020 had been a “dramatic” year for aquaculture and a “very active one” for AVRAMAR’s component companies thanks to severe storms in both Greece and Spain as well as the COVID crisis, Myers said he was proud of the way that it had overcome the challenges by sticking together, with revenues and volumes falling by only around 5 percent for the year.
“Above all, we managed to support our customers and consumers throughout the world, providing healthy fish in a continued supply chain – overcoming a lot of adverse moments in the year and actually ended the year in a good way. At the same time, we delisted three companies off the Greek stock exchange and merged them into this one company structure. That’s quite a good accomplishment for a year that had otherwise been a very unusual for all of us. We now have a good base to start 2021,” he said. “I am very optimistic about the future of this company in the next coming years but also for 2021 being a better and more positive year.”
The company will continue to develop bass and bream, but will also focus on bringing two other lesser-known species – corvina and pagrus – into current and new markets as both whole fish and value-added products.
Myers, who has been CEO of the group of companies for the past year, told SeafoodSource that looking beyond the initial transition period of the merger and its home markets of Spain, Greece, and Italy, AVRAMAR sees a lot of overseas potential in France and Benelux, while North America could offer “significant growth” if it has the right portfolio in terms of value-added products to offer the market.
“We also made a breakthrough in the Middle East and [the United Arab Emirates] in 2020, and that region remains of interest,” he said. “And from there, we will see.”
He’s also keen to progress some “portfolio repositioning” in traditional markets, such as more corvina in Greece and more pagrus in Spain, while maintaining its current “footprint and strength” in those markets.
“I would also like to see more growth in retail. In Italy, for example, there’s a lot of potential to grow this,” he said.
At the same time, Myers said the group intends to quadruple its value-added proposition from a current level of 5 percent of the overall business “to around 20 percent and beyond” in the next few years.
And “while it’s early days” at the moment, he said that this could maybe then be raised further – to 25 to 30 percent through customer partnerships.