Will big Spanish merger impact suppliers?

By

Chris Dove, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
October 26, 2010

This week’s announcement that Spanish seafood supplier Caladero is to undergo a 100 percent takeover by supermarket chain Mercadona is set to shake up the industry. 

Still to be approved by regulators, the agreement between both companies’ majority shareholders completes Valencia-based Mercadona’s previous 16.5 percent stake in Caladero, valued at EUR 24 million (USD 33 million). Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Caladero Director General Carlos Amorós called the merger an opportunity to start new projects, while Mercadona President Juan Roig said Mercadona intends to strengthen and promote fresh seafood sales throughout its Spanish stores.

In 14 years of operation, Zaragoza-based Caladero has become one of Spain’s leading fresh seafood importers. In 2008, the company launched an ambitious plan to invest more than EUR 150 million (USD 207 million) in the business. Caladero’s fresh fish is currently sold in 1,290 Mercadona stores across Spain.

However, the financial crisis forced it to source bank loans, leading to Mercadona’s agreement of financial support to guarantee the planned investment and new facilities and to safeguard employment.

In March, Roig informed Mercadona’s 2,000 suppliers that the chain would not subsume unjustified price increases, confirming his intention to actively engage in a price war.

While the full impact of the merger is yet to be felt, some of the supermarket chain’s seafood suppliers are already expressing concern over the potential effects it will have on their contracts with the company and its potential pricing strategy.

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