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Crisis No Obstacle For MW Brands Portuguese Cannery

Seafood Investments Portugal, the Peniche-based canning plant, still maintains the lead in the French and United Kingdom markets, even in the midst of the present global credit crisis. The plant is owned by the European seafood company MW Brands, which took over the activities of Heinz Seafood Europe.

According to the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, who visited the plant last week, despite the international crisis and the devaluation of the English pound, the crisis has not yet affected the plant, which continues exporting.

Seafood Investments Portugal  produces about 75 million tins of canned mackerel and sardine, which are exported under the H Parmantier, Petir Navir and John West labels, leading brands in the French and British markets and is now owned by MW brands.

The plant’s annual turnover has grown from Euro 20 million to Euro 45 million and currently employs more than 500 workers. Management intends to invest Euro 2 million to establish a production unit of tuna salads, which would generate about 100 jobs.

However, because of the volume of its expansion, the canner cannot depend on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for its financing. Given the project will create hundreds of jobs, Mr. Silva promised  to  look for alternative financial support  to ensure the project materializes,

In Peniche, the minister also inaugurated a system of online fish sales in the Peniche Wholesale Market, which is expected to assist the sector in becoming more competitive.

According to Silva, by means of this new technology the company hopes "to attract small buyers," like wholesale market restaurants and supermarkets, reduce the number of intermediaries and deflate the price of fish paid for by the consumer.

"Here we pay Euro 1-2 per kilo of fish, which later costs consumers between EUR 24 and Euro 34, and that’s a major difference," he affirmed.

About Euro 340,000 were invested in implementing the online sales system, and by late 2009 it is hoped that other domestic wholesale markets will count on the same technology.

The Peniche Wholesale Market generates some EUR 26 million annually.