Aquaculture for all

Thai Union, Savola Foods Bring Sustainable Seafood to Middle East

Sustainability Processing Economics +4 more

THAILAND - Thai Union (TUF) and Savola Foods Company the largest manufacturer of consumer goods in Middle Eastern markets, have begun a joint venture (JV) to bring sustainable, innovative, and quality seafood products to the Middle Eastern consumers.

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Thai Union is a global seafood leader with over 20 factories operating across Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. It operates in several seafood categories including tuna, shrimp, sardines, mackerel, and salmon and owns leading global brands like John West, Chicken of the Sea, Petit Navire, and Mareblu.

The company is the largest processor of tuna globally, and operates the world’s only tuna-focused Global Innovation Incubator in partnership with the Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand.

Savola Foods Company, a Closed Joint Stock Company and a subsidiary of the Savola Group (a Saudi Public Listed company), is one of the largest food companies in the Middle Eastern markets focusing on mass consumers foods such as edible oils, sugar, and pasta. Savola Foods Company generated revenues of SAR 14.59 billion (approx. $3.9 billion) in 2014, and operates strong food brands, such as, Afia, Alarabi, Ladan, and Yudum.

The joint venture combines the global resources and expertise of Thai Union with the regional resources and expertise of the Savola Foods Company.

Dubbed as a joint venture of equals, the envisaged entity will be uniquely positioned to leverage strong capabilities of both partners.

The joint venture will benefit from the sourcing, processing, and R&D capabilities of Thai Union, and sales, marketing, and distribution expertise of Savola Foods Company. The joint venture will also leverage deep consumer and marketing expertise of both partners, including marketing the John West brand in the Middle Eastern markets.

The product lines for the JV will include all seafood products, including ambient, frozen, chilled seafood, as well as ready-to-eat meals. The joint venture will operate in 12 Middle Eastern markets: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Egypt.

According to Mr Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO, Thai Union Group,:“The Middle East region is one of the fastest growing seafood market globally. It is a well-established seafood culture with increasing per capita consumption. We are very excited about this opportunity.”

The Middle Eastern markets to be served by the JV are estimated over $3 billion, with substantial growth expected over the next several years. Based on reported statistics, the core Middle East markets such as Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia alone had seafood sales in excess of $2 billion in 2014 and have experienced average growth of over 4 per cent over the last 5 years.

It is anticipated that the JV will be able to capture a significant share of that market, and accordingly, the annual sales revenues within the next three to four years are expected to be in excess of $400 million.

Mr Maaraf Abderrahim, CEO of Business Development, Savola Foods Company commented: “Seafood plays a special role in our consumer’s diet. Yet, the product offer in the market appears to be rather basic. We are very pleased to join hands with Thai Union and are committed to bringing best-in-class products to the market”.

Thai Union and Savola Foods Company together plan to invest $30-50 million over the next two years into the JV.

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