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Belgian seafood importer boosts sales, eyes further growth

Start-up saw a change in ownership late last year and a shakeup of its management structure.

Belgian seafood importer Seacorin, founded in September 2014, is expecting to post strong sales figures for the second year running in 2017 following a healthy first quarter.

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In 2016, the company grew its turnover from €10 million ($10.6 million) to €17 million ($18 million) and it is forecasting revenue of around €26 million ($27.6 million) this year.

In August last year, the company’s ownership structure changed and Belgium based angel investor group MDM took a 50 percent stake in the company from founding member Frank Dedecker, owner of foodservice firm Defraron which initially provided the start up with financial backing.

Dedecker’s remaining 10 percent in the company -- he initially had 60 percent in total -- has gone to the operational team of Seacorin, resulting in a 50/50 joint shareholding between them and MDM.

The current management team consists of Hans Lannoo, Olivier Mocar and Wim David as partners responsible for sales and Koenraad Van Simaey as the CEO and in charge of purchases.

"Frank Dedecker, one of the founding members and owner of Defraron is out, and MDM is in," Van Simaey told IntraFish.

According to Van Simaey, MDM is a well-known angel investor in Belgium and very strong in textiles, chemicals, and property.

"The move means we have the financial capacity for our growth," said Van Simaey. "Group MDM has 50 percent plus one share and we, the operational team, have 50 percent minus one share."

"But they [MDM] are not involved in daily operations."

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The shake-up means Van Simaey will report to MDM every quarter and the group will make sure Seacorin has enough credit lines open.

"They took over the shares and gave us a loan to maintain the 50 percent, and grow together with them," he said. "Most capital is supplied by them, via loan, which is considered as equity."

In addition, due to last year’s strong growth, the company’s headquarter have moved from Bruges to Waregem and new employees have been recruited in 2016 for finance, logistics, quality and purchase.

The first quarter of 2017 confirmed the expected sales growth with a 59 percent turnover increase and Seacorin will further expand its product range and sourcing markets to countries such as Ecuador, Indonesia and China.

Furthermore, Seacorin will hire more new staff in 2017 in order to support the sales team.

“The company's focus remains on a low cost organization that delivers sustainable and correct products at competitive prices,” Van Simaey told IntraFish.

Seacorin was Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified in 2016 and expects to obtain the IFS brokers certificate in the second half of 2017.

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