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Kasela wants winding fish stalls

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PHOTO: Mati Hiis / Õhtuleht

Fish processor PRFoods obtained a Scottish processor for €15.4 million in July and announced yesterday that it has signed a contract to buy Finnish importer and seller Oy Trio Trading Abi for €3 million. The latter’s turnover outperformed that of PRFoods last year, coming to €51.4 million

Member of the board of PRFoods Indrek Kasela said that Trio is among Finland’s largest fish processors that has several clients PRFoods currently lacks, like the Stockmann retail chain. «They are very strong on the fresh fish market and also process shrimp that is something our portfolio did not have until now,» he said.

You have bought several companies, one after the other. Whence the capacity? Why now?

After selling the so-called old Premia, we concentrated on fish processing and going international. We gave the lion’s share of the proceeds from sale of the ice cream and frozen products branch to PRFoods’ shareholders but left ourselves with enough resources to develop the fish industry.

Our plans for fish have been international from day one. Hence the Scottish acquisition. Trio has been a partner for a long time, meaning it was the logical thing to do to merge with them.

PRFoods’ second quarter turnover showed impressive growth - nearly 34 percent. Your stock market announcement said it was caused by changing raw material prices. What will happen to fish prices in the near future according to your forecasts, will growth continue in Q3?

Fish prices have experienced a clear hike in the past 18 months - as is evident also in supermarkets. At the same time, we see the price of Norwegian salmon coming down, which is why we are expecting a far better result from the second half-year.

That said, our main base product, steelhead trout, is not showing a trend toward lower prices. That is why we needed to increase salmon’s importance in our portfolio to reduce dependence on a single product’s price.

Are there suitable competitors for you to acquire in Estonia? Have you considered buying a competitor, M.V.Wool for example?

Estonian companies are unfortunately too small and so are their markets. We also have to meet far stricter quality requirements to be able to sell to major foreign retail chains. However, they are doing good as such; Mati Vetevool (owner of M.V.Wool - ed.) is a dedicated player who rather sees the future in family business.

Even though our ambitions lie elsewhere, we will not forget the Estonian consumer - it would be embarrassing if Estonians couldn’t buy quality fish. The Finns are far more demanding clients; Estonians still believe in Lithuanian fish sticks and pork. If we want Estonians to eat healthier, we need longer fish stalls in our shops.

Could we expect announcements of other acquisitions from you in the near future?

We will be concentrating on integrating companies we have already acquired. We have enough work there. Whether we will expand through acquisitions in the coming years is something time will tell. We will not be buying anything more this year.

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