Mercadona tuna supplier invests over €100m in upgrading, expanding Galician facilities.

Jealsa Rianxeira — a supplier of canned tuna to Spain’s largest retailer, Mercadona, among others — has invested €124 million (see table below) over the last three years in upgrading and improving efficiency at its facilities, it said.

The group, which has been on a drive since 2013 to get its costs below €500 per-metric-ton, has been investing heavily in automation to stay competitive when tuna raw material prices go up and down, but the level in stores is set low.

“Process improvement and automation projects continue to be carried out at [Jealsas’s] facilities [in Boiro and Pobra do Caraminal, both in Galicia, northern Spain]. In 2016, in total, €78m were allocated for the improvement of facilities, the incorporation of new ones, process improvement, and research and development,” Jealsa said, adding that the investment in 2017 totaled €22m.

The group, which includes multiple canned tuna brands, such as Escuris, Mare Aperto, and Crusoe Foods, among others, also owns a plant for the production of tuna loins in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; one for the production of shellfish in Puerto Montt, Chile; and for the production of canned tuna and sardines in Brazil.

Last year, the group also invested €2m for the creation of a mixed research unit, Jealsa-Anfaco. Moreover, it is preparing to commission two new plants at its Boiro facilities, with a budget of €20m, Undercurrent News understands. Despite having already obtained the permits for those, this project could be completed by 2019, Jealsa said.

The group’s revenue in 2017 rose 16% year-on-year to €631m, while profit figures for 2017 were not included in its results (see table with Jealsa’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 financial results).

The group’s president, Jesus Manuel Alonso Escuris, defined the revenue achieved in 2017, above €600m, as “historical”.

“All the business units have grown. Even Mercadona, the giant of the Spanish market, despite the quota it already has, continues to grow,” said Alonso.

Jealsa also has its own tuna fishing fleet through firm Sant Yago, which operates two tuna vessels and one auxiliary vessel in the Atlantic Ocean. Jealsa is also the principal shareholder in Fripusa, a company that owns ten refrigeration chambers with a storage capacity of 8,000 metric tons.

The group also owns an energy division, while its fish and seafood division accounts for about 85% of the total revenue.

In terms of products, Jealsa specializes in the production of fish and fish preserves, although its product portfolio also includes frozen tuna, which is marketed by Mercadona. Since 2013, the firm also produces frozen and refrigerated ready-made dishes for the hotel and catering industry. The group’s brand PetSelect also produces pet food.

Fuente: Undercurrent News