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One Of World’s Largest Canneries To Invest USD 78 Million In Improvements Seychelles, March 25, 13

One of the world largest tuna canneries, the MWBrands owned Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) tuna cannery in the Seychelles plans to invest Euro 60 million to improve recoveries, efficiency, productivity, quality and safety, its general manager Joe Madnack last week.

IOT, which is forced to employ 65% of its 2,421 strong workforce from overseas, due to a lack of availability in local labor – plans to build a €14 million house blocks for expatriates in conjunction with the government from which it will rent the accommodation. Foreign workers are coming from Philippines, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. At the moment the company houses its foreign staff in quarters rented from private firms and individuals.

There will a significant spending to make the plant less depended on expensive imported fossil fuels, €10 million will be invested in solar panels. Seychelles has high utility prices, with the cost of electricity being more than three times paid by factories in competing countries and water which costs five times more.

IOT will also spend €25 million in a cold storage project, which should contribute to a higher level of continuity in the production.

“The company will invest an annual average of €4 million to improve recoveries, efficiency, productivity, quality and safety,” said Mr. Madnack during IOT’s open day by which it marked the Productivity awareness week.

In 2007 IOT canned 92,000 tons of tuna, while last year’s level was 71,000 tons. This drop has been caused by factors that have affected production like market prices, reduced fish availability due to piracy and climate changes which he said forced the factory to close down for 13 days last year.

IOT represents 95% of Seychelles manufacturing exports and 46% of imports. It has a current daily throughput of 340 M/T of whole round frozen raw tuna and is outputting 1.6 million cans daily. The plant it maximum capacity is around 500 M/T s a day.

Mr. Madnack named some of the challenges the company faces as high working capital due to location, “Labor costs are also much higher than for other tuna producing countries due to logistics, travel and housing,” he said, citing a high level of absenteeism among workers which stands at 12.76% for locals, 5.45 % among expatriates.

He said current prices make it difficult to penetrate other markets like the US and the Middle East.

Mr. Madnack said the company aims to “make the best recoveries and achieve maximum yields from the fish and other materials it processes, while using electricity, fuel and water as efficiently as possible and use the best technology to maintain the highest product quality”.

“We also plan to optimize the value of our by-products such as fish meal and oil,” he said, explaining there is a demand for oil generated from fish processing.