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Alliance Tuna Set To Open New Processing Plant In GenSan

Canned Tuna exporter Alliance Tuna International, Inc. will start operations in a new plant in General Santos in the second half of the year, a move expected to boost the company’s profits next year.
“The processing plant will start in the second half and we plan to lease out the facilities first since we want to start right away,” Alliance Tuna President Jonathan Y. Dee told reporters at the sidelines of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting Monday.

Alliance Tuna will own majority of the joint venture corporation while partner Prime Foods New Zealand in the minority. Mr. Dee said the partnership was working well and that the company has no intention of buying out the partner.

The P50-million to P60-million plant has the capacity to produce two tons of salmon a day, which will be exported to Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.

“This will help improve our profits next year,” he said.

Earlier this year, Alliance Tuna bought a majority stake in the New Zealand-based salmon processing company for P37 million as part of a plan to venture outside its core tuna business and to be a regional food conglomerate.

The acquisition will give the homegrown tuna giant a controlling interest in a successful brand in the lucrative Oceania market.

Prime Foods has been manufacturing and selling smoked tuna since 1994. Its products include hot smoked, cold smoked and marinated salmon. Prime Foods is one of the largest retail suppliers of smoked seafood in New Zealand, with a market share of more than a third.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dee said Alliance Tuna is planning to improve the capacity of its Indonesian subsidiary to allow it to reach a 60-tons-a-day production target.

“We have already started the shipment of tuna from Indonesia to US and Middle East. We plan to start shipping 10 tons a day, then next month 20 tons per day until we hit the capacity,” Mr. Dee said.

Alliance Tuna increased its stake in Indonesian subsidiary PT International Alliance Food Indonesia to 80% from 70% in March, saying that this will boost export operations and drive a 25% growth to $4 million in profits this year.

“We are currently in the lookout for products that can bring more margins to the company,” Mr. Dee said, adding that Alliance Tuna is on the lookout for a new company to be acquired within the next six to eight months.

“We remain on track to hit our profits this year. As of now, we are exporting to 53 countries and we plan to bring this to 60 countries by yearend,” he said.

Alliance Tuna exports canned tuna from General Santos to Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and South America. Alliance Tuna shares went up by 4.41% or P0.06 to P1.42 per share Monday.