Beston Global Food Company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange last September and has already seen its share price rise from A$0.35 to A$0.67 (US$0.25-0.47).
It exports premium seafood, dairy, meat and health nutrition products to China, the Middle East, Thailand, Japan and Vietnam.
In January, the Adelaide-based company announced it had entered into a joint venture agreement with Sunwah, the largest importer of seafood products into Hong Kong and Macau.
Sunwah also owns and operates restaurants in Hong Kong and China, including the Nishimura Japanese Restaurant chain.
Beston chairman Roger Sexton, a former investment banker in London, Singapore and Hong Kong, said the company’s unique supply chain, which allowed it to grow, process and distribute almost all of its products, was key to its success.
“We have what we call a closed-loop supply chain so we own farms and other sources of supply, we own the processing and we own the marketing and distribution; so all three legs are owned by the company and that’s quite a unique model,” he said.
“We have very good products and we have excellent marketing distribution operations in Asia with our own people so we are taking those products directly to the market. We’re certainly in an expansion mode.”
Beston employs 190 people and has staff across Asia, including a 26-strong workforce in China.
Its full range of dairy and seafood products include southern rock lobster, tuna, kingfish, oysters, cheeses and milk. Beston’s brands have a focus on “clean, green and healthy” and include Ferguson Australia, Mori Seafood, B-d Farm Paris Creek, Australian Provincial Cheeses and Scorpio Foods.
Dr Sexton said rising incomes in China meant people were demanding higher quality foods such as fish, meat, eggs and dairy products.
“Increasingly, discerning consumers are looking for healthy products from Australia, and they recognise that South Australia is a source of very pure, very healthy food products,” he said.
“New Zealand got into China earlier than Australia so we’re playing catch-up, but South Australia is recognised as having similar qualities to New Zealand in terms of the purity of our farms and oceans.”
Sunwah group chairman Jonathan Choi said the joint-venture with Beston recognised and capitalised on the relative strengths of the two companies.
“Beston has a wide variety of premium quality food and beverage products which are in high demand in Asia. Sunwah has a strong distribution business in Hong Kong and Macau, which has earned a reputation over a period of more than 50 years for the provenance of its products and the quality of service provided to its customers. We share a lot in common. It is a perfect marriage,” Dr Choi said.