GML: Ireland Blyth eyes India expansion; Lux expedites debt repayments
If all approvals are received, the fisheries plant may be expected to open in 2015, said IBL CEO Nicolas Maigrot (left), adding that he was recently in the South Indian port city of Cochin for negotiations with their potential partner in India. (Image: IBL)
After making a huge splash in the Indian Ocean region, fisheries major Ireland Blyth Ltd (IBL) is looking to move further east with a processing facility in India.
The IBL CEO indicated that India may be next on the cards for the Mauritius-based conglomerate, which has presence in sectors spanning across commerce, engineering, financial services, logistics, aviation & shipping, retail and seafood & marine.
“I was recently in Cochin for negotiations with our potential partner in India,” stated Nicolas Maigrot, adding that the deal is in an advanced stage.
It may be noted that Cochin is a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea and is part of the South Indian state of Kerala, which is regarded as one of the most developed states of the country.
If all approvals are received, the plant may be expected to open in 2015, continued the CEO, speaking at a press interaction organized for the CEOs of major subsidiaries and associate companies of Mauritian conglomerate GML, which ranks among the leading companies in the Indian Ocean Region.
With Mauritius being a leading exporter of tuna to the European Union, IBL deals majorly in tuna processing.
However, while mentioning that tuna is found in Indian waters, the CEO noted that the quality of the product is relatively low as fishing is done far from shore and fishing vessels with inadequate storage facilities are used.
He observed that more robust refrigeration equipment must be used to ensure that the fish stays fresh all the way from being caught in the deep waters to the time it makes its journey to the shores to an on-land storage and processing facility.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Lux Resorts, also present at the event, mentioned that the premier hospitality chain is well poised to repay its debts and reduce the interest drag on its balance sheet. He credited its robust financial performance in the year to date on the company’s focus on making inroads in its debt.
The hospitality major had recently declared half year results, notching up a four-fold rise in post-tax profits to Rs 126.99 million for the six months ended December 31, 2013 compared to Rs 29.70 million for the year-ago period.
CEO Paul Jones noted that the luxury resort group had repaid a whopping Rs 1 billion worth of debt this financial year and was poised to close its balance sheet as on 30June2014 at consolidated debts of Rs 4 billion.
It may be noted that the hospitality industry in Mauritius is currently reeling under debt repayments and interest charges, which are weighing heavily on the bottomline of hotels in the island economy.
Over the last five years, the number of tourists coming to Mauritius has barely grown. On the other hand, room supply has increased, which means that occupancy rates are going down, and if the demand for rooms is going down, prices are going down as well, making it tougher for hotels to meet high fixed charges such as debt repayments and interest charges.
The CEO went on to foresee a challenging year ahead for the Mauritian tourism sector in 2014, as the top 10 source markets for tourists, with the exception of China and Russia, have all shown a dip in footfalls to the island economy over the first quarter of this year.
Founded in 1987 as Naiade Resorts Ltd and rebranded as LUX* Resorts in 2011, the leading hospitality chain is present across Mauritius, Maldives and La Réunion.
While IBL is a subsidiary of GML since 2010, Lux Resort Group is an affiliate company of the Mauritius-based conglomerate.