Agrimarine will supply retailer Ito-Yokado with salmon from its Benxi operation, where it plans to expand production. Agrimarine (TSXV:FSH) this morning announced it has struck a deal with the Ito-Yakado grocery chain to supply it with salmon in certain Chinese locations, with plans to ramp up to all fifteen stores the Japanese chain operates in China.
The chinook salmon will come from Agrimarine’s closed-containment freshwater farm in Benxi, China.
Agrimarine CEO Richard Buchanan commented on the deal: “Ito-Yokado sees the opportunity to offer a salmon product with improved freshness over imports to their customers in Beijing and they are launching our product in one of their largest stores in a high-income community,” adding: “Securing this supply contract is a significant step for the company. It provides protection against price fluctuations, brings significant sales and cash flow, and demonstrates our ability to deliver quality Pacific salmon at competitive prices.”
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Founded in 1993, Vancouver-based Agrimarine’s corporate history is something of a catalogue of the collective knowledge and history of commercial aquaculture. After starting out as a traditional net cage operator, the company has quietly become a world leader in closed containment systems that operate in the marine environment and aim to replicate natural conditions. Agrimarine’s solid-wall containment systems float in inter-tidal regions or fresh water bodies, removing organic waste and using pristine rearing waters supplemented with oxygen to provide control of the fish culture environment.
The company’s operations in China began three years ago with the construction of a fresh water reservoir near the City of Benxi, in Liaoning Province. A trial run was completed with the harvest of of steelhead trout, which it sold to high end restaurants and hotels, but its plans are much bigger. CEO Richard Buchanan says the company intends to have a hundred tanks in production within five years. That, he told Cantech Letter earlier this year, would bring Agrimarine’s annual harvests up to 30,000 metric tonnes, which is the amount of salmon that is presently imported from Norway and other countries.
Japanese retailer Ito-Yokado, which is part of Seven & I Holdings, operates 174 Ito-Yokado stores in Japan. The company now has ten stores in Beijing, five stores in Chengdu, and plans further expansion in the Chinese market.
At press time, shares of Agrimarine were down 5.9% to $.08 cents.
Disclosure: Agrimarine is an annual sponsor of Cantech Letter.