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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius fisheries major IBL & Princes Tuna to merge to tackle global competition

Mauritius fisheries major IBL & Princes Tuna to merge to tackle global competition

The merger between IBL and Princes Tuna will also result in the strengthening of their activities to promote sustainable fisheries in the Indian Ocean, said Nicolas Maigrot, CEO of IBL. (Image: Global Village Directory)

IBL and Princes Tuna (Mauritius) have signed an agreement to merge their tuna activities, run under Thon des Mascareignes (TDM) and Princes Tuna (Mauritius) Ltd (PTM) respectively, in order to become more competitive in the global tuna market.

“IBL was already a shareholder of Princes Tuna Mauritius up to 29.33% since 1999,” says Nicolas Maigrot, CEO of IBL.

“The decision to consolidate our interests was quite logical in the current context. We had to develop a whole new approach that allows us to position ourselves in the global tuna industry to be more competitive,” he added.

“We have a certain complementarity in our product offerings: TDM produces lanyards that it then exports to other companies which are canning and packaging tuna. From now on, we will align our production and thus increase our operating effectiveness.”

The new structure will not entail a cash transaction, but will result in an exchange of securities between the two groups.

IBL and its subsidiary Seafood Hub Ltd will jointly increase their participation in Princes Tuna (Mauritius) up to 43.69%, while Princes Tuna (Mauritius) own 100% of the shares of Thon Mascarene Ltd, 68% of Indico Canning and 33% of Marine Biotechnology Products.

“Our merger with Princes Tuna will also result in the strengthening of our activities to promote sustainable fisheries in the Indian Ocean. We are championing sustainable and rational exploitation of tuna resources, so that future generations can also enjoy their benefits, “says Nicolas Maigrot.

This new operation will have an annual turnover that is estimated at USD 400 million.

“This is an important milestone in the history of Mauritian seafood. As provided by law, we expect among other things, the final approval for our merger in the coming weeks before executing the agreement,” concluded Arnaud Lagesse, Chairman of the Board at IBL.

Earlier this year, AfricaMoney had reported that Princes Mauritius and Thon des Mascareignes could possibly be seen joining forces on the island, with the latter connecting a strong tuna brand to its operations, and Princes reaping the benefits of an increased production capacity, a better access to raw material, and a possible lock in with a potential future MSC certified tuna fleet. It was also expected that a merger would allow both companies to create major synergies and cost savings at the management levels.

Wholly owned by Japanese Mitsubishi, Princes has a tuna cannery on the Indian Ocean island, but lacks its own tuna fleet supplying its processing facility. In the UK, Princes battles with John West for tuna brand leadership. As a canned food manufacturer and distributor, Princes is active in UK, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. It produces and markets an extensive line of canned products such as seafood, meats, fruits and vegetables, mostly under its own Princes brand.

Thon des Mascareignes (TDM) similarly has a tuna plant on the island, capable of processing 200 MT of tuna per day, and is 25% owned by Echebastar, a Spanish fishing company, with the remainder share held by IBL.

This fleet of four super seiners, excusively active within the Indian Ocean, is currently in full assessment for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, and supplies tuna raw material to the TDM factory.

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