Ricardo García of Camanchaca and the financial success of Q1 2023

WeAreAquaculture spoke with Ricardo García Holtz, vice president of Salmones Camanchaca to take a closer look at its impressive financial results for Q1 2023.
Ricardo García Holtz. Photo by: Salmones Camanchaca.
Ricardo García Holtz. Photo by: Salmones Camanchaca.

WeAreAquaculture spoke with Ricardo García Holtz, vice president of Salmones Camanchaca, to talk about its impressive financial results for Q1 2023.

Salmones Camanchaca kicked off the first financial quarter on a high note, with an even brighter outlook. The numbers indicate a remarkable surge of 41%, amounting to USD 114 million (EUR 105 million). This growth can be attributed to higher volumes of Atlantic and Coho Salmon, coupled with a 15% price increase in Atlantic Salmon. Such impressive achievements were made possible due to the "company's agility and flexibility".

In light of these accomplishments, WeAreAquaculture has sought to delve deeper into the challenges encountered by the Chilean company. For this purpose, Ricardo García has responded to some of our questions:

This first financial quarter for the company has certainly been very positive. How would you sum it up in one sentence?

A quarter that, thanks to the lessons learned, had favorable production and commercial results.

One of the advantages you had in this quarter was the increase in the price of Atlantic Salmon… How do you expect the prices of Atlantic Salmon and Coho to be going forward?

The world supply of salmon is very stagnant, which has boosted prices. In the measure that demand weakens in the middle of this year, we should also see weak prices.

In Q1, you talk about "the flexible and agile capabilities that have developed to change formats and markets, successfully capturing commercial opportunities." Tell us more about it.

Our value-added productivity initiatives have facilitated swift adaptability in product variations, formats, and more. This dynamic approach has propelled market expansion, enhanced diversification, and ensured alignment with evolving consumer preferences.

Regarding markets, in 2022, we achieved to enter the Middle East with certifications such as the Heart-Check Program of the American Heart Association and Free Pork, thus ensuring that the products sent to that destination were free of pork protein.

We have also increased our presence in markets such as Mexico and the Caribbean, Europe, Chile, Brazil, and Eurasia, without neglecting the United States and Japan, which are traditional markets.

What has been the FAN impact mitigation technology you have used?

We are committed to reducing risks at sea to avoid incidents associated with algae and lack of oxygen. Thus, we have implemented systems that include oxygen-generating equipment that is automatically activated and upwelling devices that, using motor compressors, generate "air walls" or water movements toward the surface. This equipment worked well this summer.

One of the facility operators. Photo bY: Salmones Camanchaca.
Do you think that if Norway's "salmon tax" goes ahead it may represent greater opportunities for the company and/or the market?

The realities of each country are different and this tax should not be analyzed in isolation. Norway is a country where there are enormous facilities for aquaculture and in many aspects, we are at a disadvantage.

What is the company's main challenge for the next four months and 2023?

The challenge is to comply with our fish harvest plan, which is already in the fattening centers, and to ensure the seeding activities. These will allow us to reach 55,000 tons this year and to rise to over 65,000 tons the next year while maintaining the high survival rate we have achieved in recent quarters.

Secondly, it is the opening of markets and segments. This will strengthen our diversification and sales conditions in both species.

The third is to face regulatory changes that are harmful to Chilean aquaculture, as well as the regional economies of the south of the country and the tens of thousands of workers involved in it. This activity requires not only a lot of capital investment but also a lot of commitment and long-term planning, so the uncertainty of the game rules is very pernicious. In this sense, Chile competes with the world, and we must look at how the first-world countries are doing it for the sustainable development of aquaculture. Otherwise, we would be burying our heads in the sand, naively thinking that the storm will not affect us.

Melinka. Photo by: Salmones Camanchaca.

We must not overlook the remarks made by the vice-president of Salmones Camanchaca regarding the supportive nation. Just a few weeks ago, the streets of Chile resonated with the war cry of direct and indirect workers under the slogan #YoSoyDelSurSoySalmonero, as a protest against the SBAP Act. Therefore, the ability to overcome and facing diverse circumstances is a complex skill. Although it is a mastery that this Chilean company has developed.

About Salmones Camanchaca

Salmones Camanchaca is a leading producer, specializing in breeding, egg production, and updating hatcheries for Atlantic salmon, Coho salmon, and trout. They also excel in primary and secondary processing and marketing, and sales of premium salmon. Furthermore, they have a strong presence in key markets, operating in five sales offices to cater to their valued customers.

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