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Through its aliquot measure, the government aims to regulate the market and guarantee the competitiveness of the sardine trade.(Photo: Stock File/FIS)

Sardine industry in turbulence

  (BRAZIL, 6/25/2010)

Warring seafood executives, fishers and governmental authorities are the protagonists of recent shifts in the Brazil sardine industry.

Following the sale of its stake in the manufacturer of canned fish products Gomes da Costa to the Spanish company Calvo, the executive Jose Eduardo Simão initiated the operations of Ampex Food Holdings.

This company is importing sardines and canned tuna from Thailand to distribute them under the brand Beira-Sea in the supermarket chains Wal-Mart and Pão de Açucar.

Now, following these corporate actions, the government’s decision to temporarily modify the aliquot of import tax on canned sardine, from 16 per cent to 32 per cent was reported.

The main objective of the measure is to regulate the market and guarantee the competitiveness of the sardine trade in Brazil.

However, for Simão, "that was a direct response " to its entry into the market.

"They want to kill us. With that, the interest is to maintain the “duopoly” of the sector, ” the executive indicated.

Among the five main manufacturers, there are two brand leaders in the canned sardine sector: Coqueiro, of Pepsico, and Gomes da Costa.

According to the National Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Conepe), in 2009 Pepsico had a market share of 44.45 per cent and Gomes da Costa, 39.7 per cent.

By the end of last week, Simão lodged an administrative complaint against both companies before the Ministry of Justice alleging abuse of economic power by obstructing entry to the market.

Problems arose last year when the Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministry (MPA) allowed the import of three species of fish from Thailand and classified them as sardines.

Several sector companies contend that those resources are of questionable quality, which is why the Ministry had to initiate an analysis and a public inquiry.

“We want to prevent the efforts of the Government in recovering the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the sardine fishery in the Southeastern and Southern regions of the country from being put at risk,”said Fabiano Duarte Rosa, coordinator of oceanic industrial fishing of the MPA.

In the meantime, the president of the Brazilian Association of Food Industries (ABIA), Edmundo Klotz, declared: “With that business model based on import, only Simão wins. It ends up financing Thailand, whereas in Brazil all the chain end up losing: the Government, the industry and the fishers.”

Simão refuted that argument. He stressed that the amount of sardine imported is derisory and would be incapable of harming the national industry so deeply.

According to the official data, in the five first months of 2010, the country imported 2,600 tonnes of canned sardines. Of that total, 70 per cent were acquired by Ampex.

That number represents an increase of 6,500 per cent in comparison with the same period of 2009. But between January and May of last year, Brazilians consumed 26,000 tonnes on average, which is why the volume imported is so small.

Related article:

- Higher taxes for canned sardine imports

By Analia Murias
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com

 


Information of the company:
Address: Rua São Tomé, 86 - 9º andar Edificio Vila Olímpia Corporate
City: São Paulo
State/ZIP: São Paulo (04551-080)
Country: Brazil
Phone: +55 11 5503 6800
Fax: +55 11 5503 6804
E-Mail: sac@gomesdacosta.com.br
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