Guolian hopes to meet ambitious growth target ahead of schedule

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Guolian hopes to meet ambitious growth target ahead of schedule

Related tags: Aquaculture

China’s biggest shrimp supplier is aiming for a near eightfold increase in revenues and a place at the top table of seafood businesses by the end of the decade.

Having reported revenues of RMB2.6bn (US$390) last year, Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic now hopes to see sales surge to RMB20bn by 2020.

It’s strategy to achieve this target was outlined in a five-year plan released last year. By ramping up its international profile through overseas acquisitions, it is aiming for an increase of sales of RMB10bn from outside of China, with the rest of the planned growth coming organically.

In 2011, the firm acquired Sunnyvale Seafood, a US-based shrimp importing firm, which this year is set to achieve annual revenues of US$300m. In the first six months of this year the American arm's sales almost doubled.

A further acquisition was put on hold last year after Guolian was part of the bidding process for China Fishery Group, the Peruvian anchovy fishing and processing company owned by Pacific Andes International Holdings (PAIH). Valued at about US$1.5bn at the time, the sale fell through after PAIH’s owners filed for bankruptcy in an American court.

Chairman Li Zhong has said that prawns will remain Zhanjiang’s core business, though the company is open to diversifying on the back of a US1.1bn fund for research and acquisitions, especially in America—the world’s biggest shrimp consumer.

As Guolian constructs a new 35-acre shrimp farm and a separate processing unit in its home province of Zhanjiang in southern China, Li said he hopes to achieve his target by as early as 2019. 

The company, which was founded in 2001, invested RMB480m in the farm, which will harvest 5,000 tonnes of white shrimp later this year. By 2020, this should increase to 20,000 tonnes.

The processing facility, which will come online next June, will have a capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes within five years,

"[Guolian] wants to build more and expand every year. With this gradual industrialisation of production, in five years we hope to have fully industrialised [shrimp] production​,” Li said in an interview. 

"No matter which sector you're in, everyone wants to benefit from economies of scale. Add to that the environmental benefits, reduced land use, and economic value, it's clear this can only be done with industrialisation of [shrimp] aquaculture production​."

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