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How Thai Union Looks At Tuna In This Crisis

The CEO of Thai Union Foods (TUF), Thiraphong Chansiri, doesn’t take the global economic downturn for granted, even though he knows that the tuna sector will be less affected than others.

According to him, the first half of 2009 is a “wait and see” moment for new projects and investments. TUF has an audacious goal ahead, to keep the 10-12% annual revenue growth and to increase its average gross margins for more than 14% this year – compared to 12.7% last year.

In order to perform well, TUF is studying the possibility of reallocating its Chicken of the Sea production from America Samoa to Thailand. Even though there’s no final decision on this matter, Mr. Chansiri admits that high energy costs, and the constant increase of wages, is making Samoa’s cannery less competitive in the market.

Thailand exports of canned tuna in 2008 reached 500.000 M/T, placing the country once more as the world’s top tuna producer. Mr. Chansiri attributes that to the steady U.S. market for tuna and an increase of export to Japan.
In addition, he believes that the stabilization of Skipjack prices between 1.000-1.500 USD will play a big role in Thai’s success in 2009;

Regarding the fact that TUF is one of the founder-members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Mr. Chansiri didn’t specify any actions within the new organization, but reaffirmed his commitment to follow any resolution approved by it.