Strong performance for leading tilapia producer

Published on
April 15, 2013

China’s leading tilapia processor in terms of volume, Baiyang Aquatic in 2012 saw its revenues jump 15.5 percent to CNY 1.2 billion (USD 194 million, EUR 148 million) while profits jumped 59 percent to CNY 84 million (USD 14 million, EUR 10 million). The company attributes the increases to higher prices and recovering demand in its export markets.

According to Baiyang's just-published annual report, China’s total amount of import and export aquatic products totaled 7.925 million tons, down 2.9 percent year-over-year while the total trade value of USD 26.98 billion (EUR 21 billion) was up 4.54 percent year-over-year. The report also states that exports of frozen tilapia-based products from China reached 3.6 million tons, up 9.59 percent year-over-year, with exports hitting USD 1.163 billion (EUR 885 million) in value terms, up 4.91 percent on the previous year, according to data from the Agricultural Ministry’s Fishing Bureau.

Headquartered in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province near the Vietnam border, Baiyang has ambitious plans to expand output, spending CNY 190 million (USD 31 million, EUR 23 million) this year to build a food processing and feed production factory in Beiliu, in the Guangxi province. The firm said when the facilities are operational later this year it will use a “company and farmer” business model to culture tilapia, with pond holders contracted to supply the firm. Baiyang projects its tilapia seedling production will ultimately surge to around 20 million fry, while its total culturing area will reach 300,000 mu (one hectare equals 15 mu) with annual production ultimately exceeding 200,000 tons. The firm also plans to hire an additional 1,000 workers to meet its goals.

As part of its expansion, in March Baiyang’s board voted to set up a feed subsidiary in Wenchang, in the Hainan province, with the firm spending CNY 33 million (USD 5.3 million, EUR 4 million) to acquire and expand the local Hainan Yubao Feeds Co, giving Baiyang more presence in one of China’s key tilapia cultivation belts.

China’s tilapia cultivators have in recent years faced challenges such as rising labor costs, coastal pollution and weaker export demand. According to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tilapia exports from China totaled USD 913 million (EUR 695 million) in the first 10 months of 2012, up 8 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. Export volume, however, rose 12 percent in that period. The U.S. accounted for 48 percent of shipments in the first 10 months, with volume up 24 percent to 137,427 tons — a feature that the USDA credited to lower prices.

USDA estimates put tilapia cultivation at 1.5 million tons in 2012, up from 1.4 million tons in 2011. According to USDA: “After a decade of rapid development averaging an annual growth rate of 11 percent, cultured tilapia production growth slowed in 2010 following abnormal weather conditions, but rebounded eight percent in 2011. 2012 cultured tilapia production continues to rise in response to increased domestic and foreign market demand, with export volume climbing 12 percent in the first ten months of 2012 over the previous year.”

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