Fishing division saves Camanchaca's revenues in 2023

In the face of this, the salmon division faced a difficult year with lower Atlantic volumes, lower prices for farmed species, rising feed costs, and sanitary incidents.
Driven by the fishing business, Camancha reported a slight increase in revenues in 2023, however, due to the difficulties of the salmon division, this was not enough for profits as it recorded an EBITDA 27% drop.

Driven by the fishing business, Camancha reported a slight increase in revenues in 2023, however, due to the difficulties of the salmon division, this was not enough for profits as it recorded an EBITDA 27% drop.

Photo: Salmones Camanchaca.

Camancha presented its 2023 results reporting a slight increase in revenues driven by the fishing business in the center-south zone. However, that increase was not enough to turn its profits positive, which fell, following the trend set in the Q3 and Q4 results of Salmones Camanchaca. The Chilean seafood company reported a consolidated EBITDA 27% lower than the previous year. The total was USD 90 million (EUR 83.7 million), 63% of which came from fishing and the remainder from the salmon division.

El Niño, good in the south, a problem in the north and salmon farming

After a weak Q4, at the end of 2023, Camanchaca's revenues reached USD 762 million (EUR 709.1 million). This is 5% more than in 2022 and is mainly explained by the result of the fishing division, which had a 19% increase, mainly because of high fish oil prices and higher sales of frozen jack mackerel. Revenues from the farming division rose by 21%, although salmon revenues declined by 4% due to the fall in both volumes and prices.

In relation to the fishing business, as reported by the company, disparate results were recorded between the operations in the north and south of Chile. The south alone accounted for a good part of the EBITDA for the year, after an evident recovery of the biomass and catches in the fisheries in which the company operates, managing to catch 100% of the jack mackerel quota, equivalent to 118 thousand MT.

In addition, Camanchaca highlighted the 82% increase in the price of fish oil sold, explained by the shortage generated by the El Niño phenomenon in Peruvian catches. However, its effects were felt in the opposite direction in northern operations, resulting in "very low artisanal anchovy catches and no industrial catches at all." There were industrial catches of jack mackerel and mackerel, but these were down 11% to 34 thousand MT.

El Niño was also the cause of one of the major difficulties faced by Camanchaca's salmon division in 2023. The increase in the price of fish oil, which benefited the fishing division, had the opposite effect here, increasing the cost of feed for farmed salmon.

This increase in production costs was added to other increases in farming costs due to sanitary incidents in four fish farms during the year, to the lower volume of Atlantic salmon, and also to the decrease in prices, both for Atlantic salmon and, especially, for Coho salmon.

Will pay USD 87.2 million for remaining 30% of Camanchaca Pesca Sur SA

On the other hand, Camanchaca also took advantage of the presentation of its 2023 results to communicate that after 18 months of process, there is already a price for the purchase of 30% of Camanchaca Pesca Sur SA to the Bio Bio Group. Two independent banking institutions have estimated the valuation of 100% of the shares at USD 290 million (EUR 269.9 million), so the value of the 30% to be transferred to Camanchaca is USD 87.2 million (EUR 81.1 million).

Currently, Camanchaca Pesca Sur SA is 70% owned by Camanchaca SA and 30% by the Bio Bio Group. The purchase for which the price has now been fixed derives from a previous agreement that obliged Camanchaca to acquire the entire shareholding of Bio Bio - owned by the Stengel family - in case it opted to sell it, a decision it finally took. After failing to agree on the price, both entities agreed to go to an independent valuation, which is the one we have now learned about.

In this regard, Ricardo García, General Manager of Camanchaca, pointed out that the value was higher than what the company expected in 2022 and attributed it mainly to the good state of the jack mackerel biomass the current fishing law has allowed, to the company's orientation towards human consumption and to the high valuation of marine proteins and oils in the world. The mention of the country's new Fisheries Law is not trivial since the Chilean seafood sector is very much awaiting the sense of its application.

"The valuation banks were optimistic that the rules of the game will be respected in Chile, and that the State will not illegitimately appropriate the rights and licenses granted in the past," Garcia said. "We assumed the obligation to make this substantial purchase which is an investment at a political moment in Chile of much uncertainty and a law initiative that is very detrimental to companies and the economy."

"But if the legislative discussions are moderate and based on facts and reason, respecting the rights of the people, and a good law is achieved, this could allow an environment of confidence that makes it possible to continue working and investing, and thus pay the obligations assumed with this acquisition of 30% of Camanchaca Pesca Sur SA. This will also allow conditions for more development in the areas where we operate, with stable jobs and sustainable production of healthy and nutritious food for Chileans and foreigners," he concluded.

About Camanchaca

With more than 50 years of experience and a strict commitment to the environment and society, Camanchaca has operations along the Chilean coast. It has 19 deep-sea fishing vessels, 1,100 hectares of mussels in Chiloé, 1,000 abalone ponds in Caldera, 74 aquaculture concessions for salmon in the regions of Los Lagos and Aysén, 4 salmon plants, 2 processing plants for other crops (mussels and abalone), 5 production plants, and 5 commercial and representative offices in Japan, the United States, Spain, China, and Mexico. Camanchaca currently exports fish and seafood to more than 50 countries.

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