The Top 30 European Seafood Companies

Although 2009 will be remembered as one of the toughest and most unsettled years for business for some time, Europe’s seafood firms more than weathered the financial storm.

Whereas previous years have seen companies at the top of the list report massive sales but a loss at the bottom line, 2009 saw all of seafood’s big players – from Marine Harvest to Icelandic Group – return to the black.

While a rejuvenated Icelandic Group dropped out of the billion-euro club by a whisker, the consolidation of Leroy Seafood Group into rising star Austevoll Seafood added a new firm to those boasting eight-digit turnovers.

There are also some interesting new entries to the list, which is expanded to 30 companies from 25 for the first time ever. The rise-and-rise of the salmon processing “Beast-in-the East” Morpol saw the Polish company rocket into 20th place, alongside Dutch pelagic and whitefish fishing and processing giant Parlevliet & Van der Plas, another new addition to the expanded list.

Spain’s Caladero, which came out from under the radar to cement a spot in the top 10 likely to improve in coming years, is one of the most exciting newcomers. The company, which recently completed a €110 million ($137 million) processing plant in Zaragoza, is forecasting a conservative sales target of close to €1 billion ($1.25 billion) by the end of 2011. If its plans to expand beyond sales in Spain come off, the sky is the limit.

There could be two new billion-euro firms in Europe if Caladero’s growth plans work out and Icelandic Group continues its recovery and is sold as a unified whole. Another exciting addition to the list is Moscow-based Russian Sea, which completed an initial public offering (IPO) in April.

Some notable companies also dropped off the list. The remarkable growth story of British Seafood, last year’s number 24, came to an end in early 2010, as the company crashed into administration. Although the company was in operation over 2009, we have removed them from the list. Coming in at 25 in last year’s report, Greek seabass and seabream farmer Nireus’ sales of €163.5 million ($219.4 million) for 2009 – down 4 percent on 2008 -- weren’t high enough to make the top 30 this year. Spanish fishing and processing conglomerate Grupo Amasua, which had sales of €260 million ($317.8 million) for 2008, but did not return enquiries for a 2009 figure --also slid off the bottom of the list. The Spanish firm was number 22 on last year’s report.

U.K.-based food company Uniq – which ranked seventeenth last year -- has also fallen off the list after selling its seafood businesses in continental Europe.

As the industry grows and consolidates, the cash continues to flow in. The Top 25 seafood companies in Europe now account for €16.22 billion ($20.29 billion) in sales, up 10.3 percent on last year’s figure of €14.648 billion ($18.32 billion).

This is the first time ever we have listed the top 30 companies, so there is no comparative figure available. Sales for the top 30 companies for 2009 were €17.67 billion ($22.12 billion).

The Top 30 European Seafood Companies list features a full ranking of companies by 2009 sales figures, their comparative places on the list the past three years, key company personnel, contact information and company details, and an overview of Europe’s biggest mergers and acquisitions in 2000.

This report is the only accurate ranking of the most important players in the seafood sector, and an essential business tool.

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