It culminates a year of salmon that was marked by the record of sales and the consolidation of the industry. With more than 850,000 tons shipped, the industry will close the year 2018 with a record $ 5 billion exported, reaching its all-time high, as projected by the association that brings together companies in the sector, SalmonChile.
The reason, according to the president of the association, Arturo Clement, would be largely because of the good price and also because of an increase in the amount produced. In 2017, salmon and trout exports reached US $ 4,650 million, which represents 780 thousand tons, representing a growth of 7.5% in twelve months.
Although this activity has been in Chile for several decades, it has been promoted and installed in the last ten years as the second largest export sector after mining. Growth has been steady and Clement has assured that the trend will continue. This is reflected in what was this year, as it will become the first non-copper product exported in the country, leaving behind the fruit sector, according to SalmonChile. The 2018 results have not yet been published, but they confirm this from the guild.
"Today demand is growing around 7% per year in the world and this year in Chile was lower than that, but as long as demand is in line with supply, it will be very good, we will keep a balance in the market," explains Clemente .
An important part of the growth in demand has to do with the positioning of Chilean salmon in the US and China, a matter in which companies have worked hard.
"We have to keep an eye on the Chinese market, which has grown brutally in the last two years and is a market with tremendous potential," said the president of SalmonChile.
The announcement of the sale of Australis to China Joyvio for $ 880 million, plus the purchase of Agrosuper from AquaChile for $ 850 million, were milestones this year and not just for the salmon industry but for the industry as a whole, as they were the second and third largest transaction in the country after the purchase of 24% of SQM by Tianqi.
In the case of the Agrosuper operation, the acquisition of AquaChile positions Los Fiordos – its salmon arm – as the second largest producer in the world. This, in turn, opens a new stage in the industry as it creates a much more powerful global weight actor. In addition, prior to the Agrosuper deal, AquaChile acquired Salmones Magallanes for US $ 255 million and Agrosuper itself acquired Friosur for US $ 229 million.
The sale of Australis, meanwhile, waits for the due diligence process to be completed, and then to complete all the formalities. For all this, the parties are defined as the deadline of April 2019.
"The acquisition of Agrosuper is a very important milestone that a protein producer makes this investment remarkable, which shows that the industry is attractive to investors. Adding the purchase of the Chinese group with Australis closes in a year very good, "added the president of SalmonChile.
Thus, he assured that the industry can continue to consolidate, because it is easier to plan and work in marketing. "Today, there are 18 companies and the biggest is the Agrosuper group, which has 24%." It's not like other sectors in this country where there are higher concentrations, I think there should be a little more consolidation in the future, "added Clement.
But SalmonChile is also working hard on social work with different actors in the industry.
"We are aware that there is a long way to go, we have a structure of work and companies have been quite sensitized with this issue, which is important, because we know it was a debt as an industry and today is a subject that is much more much more awareness. We strive hard to work with local authorities and local communities, "said the union's director.