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Outlook 2017: Kefalonia CEO Lara Barazi-Yeroulanos

Top exec at Greek bass, bream producer is seeing an eventful year ahead.

IntraFish sits down with Lara Barazi-Yeroulanos, CEO at Greek seabass and seabream producer Kefalonia, to talk about her future predictions for the sector.

What were the three most significant developments for your business in the seafood industry in 2016?

This past year continued the trend we saw in 2015, a generally stable year with solid demand and stable prices. I continue to see signs of an increasing maturity -- I mean this in the sense of no longer operating in crisis mode -- in our industry here in Greece with companies focusing on reorganizing, growing their markets and investing in R&D.

Other landmarks were the launch of a 'pan-Mediterranean' research call, as part of Horizon 2020, to address some of the most pressing R&D issues affecting our industry and the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization. I think both are significant in that they’re both broadly inclusive, industry-led initiatives to address common challenges in research and promotion. 

Looking ahead, what will be the three most important developments in 2017?

Last year I had said that 2016 would be the year that the Greek banks would divest from the majority of the industry which it currently owns through majority shareholding in the two largest Greek companies, Selonda and Nireus.

Things tend to move somewhat more slowly here, but hopefully this process will begin in 2017 and will eventually lead to serious investors who are committed to running professional, profitable operations entering the industry. On the market side, we’re unfortunately not immune to political and economic uncertainty, and 2017 promises to be an eventful year in Europe and elsewhere.

Hopefully it will be eventful in a positive way, although I am concerned about the rise of isolationist and populist/nationalist politicians, which is never good for trade or the economy. I am also concerned about the political situation in Turkey as internal consumption there is a very important component of the overall supply and demand equation for bass and bream. 

What changes and developments do you expect your business to undergo next year?

2017 will be an investment year for us, we’ll be gradually expanding our production and adding a processing facility to further expand our value-added products range.

We're focused on achieving steady sales and profit growth for the seventh consecutive year by continuously investing in quality and service and getting closer to our consumers.

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