French fisheries major SAPMER opens second processing unit in Mauritius
Mauritius’ ocean economy thrust is paying off as French fisheries major SAPMER has increased its investment in the island nation with a new tuna processing plant at Port Louis. (Image: Company website)
French fisheries major SAPMER, based in Reunion Island, has dived deeper into Mauritian waters with a new tuna processing plant inaugurated at Port Louis on Friday.
SAPMER’s new processing plant ‘Indian Ocean Tuna Processing Services Ltd’ has a processing capacity of 21,000 tonnes of raw tuna annually. At a total area of 5,023 square meters, the new unit covers a 2,500 square meters area for fish processing, besides various offices.
SAPMER has a 50% joint venture with Mauritian company Seafood Hub Ltd, a subsidiary of Ireland Blyth Limited (IBL). The processing plant, Mer des Mascareignes, has a processing capacity of 9,000 tonnes per year.
Besides, SAPMER also has a storage capacity of 3,600 tons at -40◦C jointly with the Mauritius Freeport Development Ltd and Froid des Mascareignes Ltd.
CEO Yannick Lauri stated that with these two plants, the SAPMER group will annually process 30,000 tons of raw tuna in Mauritius for export to primarily Asia, Japan and European nations.
Lauri also emphasized that in 2013, SAPMER has expanded its tuna fleet to seven ships with the arrival of the first Mauritian tuna seiner of Belle Rive.
Built in Vietnam by the South East Asia Shipyard (SEAS) at Ho Chi Minh City, this new freezer tuna is engaged in fishing in the Indian Ocean.
Last year, the company, which has been undertaking tuna fishery in the Indian Ocean since 2006-07, announced that it would invest around Rs 8 to 10 billion in the fisheries sector of Mauritius. Further, it had declared intent to purchase five new purse seiners from 2012 to 2014, in addition to four existing ones, and build a new processing plant to provide direct job opportunities to some 500 persons.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam declared a thrust on the ocean economy to lead the island to greater heights. Again, the recently announced Budget 2014 declared the seafood hub as an important economic pillar for Mauritius.
With deeper investment by the private sector in the island economy’s marine industry, it looks like the budget thrust is already reeling in the big fish.
SAPMER, a French fisheries major, operates from Reunion Island and is involved in deep-sea fishing in the economic zone of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. The company also engages in on-shore activities in the lobster, toothfish and tuna fisheries and processing arenas.
Started in 1947, the company has been associated with Mauritius since 2006-07, with the opening of a tuna processing and value enhancing factory. Between 2009 and 2010, the company brought into service the first 900-ton capacity – 40° C cold room in Port-Louis. Then in 2011, the company opened two new – 40° C cold rooms in Port-Louis for a total storage capacity of 3,600 tons. In 2012, the company started two subsidiaries in Mauritius: SMS and STS.
As per the latest financial report for the half year ended 30 June 2013, SAPMER recorded a turnover of €55.5 million against €52.5 million in the same period last year. On the operational profitability front, the firm notched up €7.4 million, or 13% of turnover, while net profits amounted to €3.2 million, representing 6% of turnover.
Source: Company Website