The Calvo canning group has successfully passed two especially complex years (2018 and 2019) and, although affected by the fall in income in Brazil and the low prices of fish, it has indicated its interest in entering the aquaculture business.
“We are interested, we are specialists in wild fishing and we are studying a foray into aquaculture, which is a key part of the future of the sector,” said its CEO, Mané Calvo, in an interview with Efe, who has related this commitment to commitment of the company with helping to make fishing a sustainable activity.
The Galician company, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, closed 2018 with a net profit of 29.8 million euros, and in 2019 – in the absence of formalizing the accounts in the Mercantile Registry – it placed itself “in that environment”; its Ebitda has slightly improved, going from 39.4 to around 45 million euros.
“It is a fantastic result. We are talking about two years marked by the depreciation of the Brazilian real and a drop in the price of fish, which are two sensitive data for us. The company is healthy, we do not have excessive debt,” he argues.
Its turnover grew by 2% during the last financial year, an increase in sales caused by the rise in countries such as Spain and Italy, and which compensates for the decrease in income observed in Brazil, where it concentrates almost half of its sales in volume, which in total they amount to 100,000 tons.
TRUST IN BRAZIL
“Consumption has suffered a lot in Brazil, and we, despite losing revenue due to the depreciation of the real, have increased our market share – they operate under the Gomes da Costa brand – to 63% in tuna and 44% in sardines But the country will explode again in sales and we will be there, “predicts Mané Calvo.
The long-term objective is that the five markets in which the group focuses have a more balanced weight than at present, with a percentage of between 15 and 20% in each of them; Currently, in volume Brazil represents 48%, compared to 22% in Spain, 17% in Italy, 5% in Central America and the Caribbean, and 2% in Argentina.
With factories in Spain, Brazil and El Salvador, and close to 5,000 employees in total, the cannery places the focus on America, with the United States and Mexico as pending matters.
“We are well established in the continent, but it is true that I would like to be more present in the United States. Money is needed, it is a complicated country, it is necessary to have a size, to have some important contract with a distribution chain … It is a challenge” , acknowledges the CEO.
IN SPAIN, “FIGHTS” WITH THE WHITE BRAND
In Spain, where the white label in the canning sector accounts for around 80% of sales, he considers that the growth registered by Calvo is “almost a miracle”.
The group manufactures products for the brands of some supermarket chains (such as Lidl or regional), although its chief executive officer stresses that the company’s focus is not there and prefers that the percentage that this business represents “is not very high”.
A key area, on the contrary, is its fleet division, made up of twelve ships (seven of them tuna vessels) and which works for the cannery as “life insurance” when it comes to ensuring that it will have product, although when there are falls fish price as in the past two years, its results suffer.
Even so, the firm has already ordered a new tuna vessel to retire one of those that currently has assets, representing an investment of close to 30 million euros.
INTERESTED IN BUYING, BUT WITHOUT RISK
The CEO of the Galician company admits that they are always open to the option of growing inorganically with purchases and acquisitions, and he declares himself “attentive” in case the opportunity arises, although within the canned fish segment.
Founded by his grandfather in Carballo (A Coruña) 80 years ago, the family owns 60% of the company and the remaining 40% is in the hands of the Italian Bolton.
“It is a very stable investment for them too, we are very calm. We are not a company with great growth, nor that it gives many headlines, and we intend to continue like this, without going crazy or making risky investments,” he concludes.