Spain's Fandicosta expands plant; fends off takeover offers

The company will soon finish the first phase of the reconstruction of its facilities after being hit by a fire in 2016.

Spanish fish and seafood processor Fandicosta is well into the extension works of its processing plant, which it expects to finish by mid-September, and a month into the reconstruction of its cold storage facility.

In total, it is investing €10 million ($11.6 million) in the construction works, which were delayed by six or seven months for administrative reasons. However, construction is now well underway. In addition, it will spend another €10.3 million in equipment. 

“The fire was a tragedy, but we were lucky that we’ve been for a long time in this sector and our facilities were insured,” Angel Martinez, CEO and president of the group, told IntraFish.

After a dip in turnover in 2016 due to the fire, which destroyed 50 percent of the company’s facilities in Domaio, Galicia, Fandicosta is expecting to return to the level of sales seen in 2015, the year before the fire.

The new facility will be divided in different departments in order to ensure the main activities are carried out separately to avoid the spread of any possible fire. 

The building has offices, processing facilities and cold storage facilities that will isolated by reinforced concrete walls, meeting all "safety guarantees" to protect as much as possible in case of an accident. 

“After the fire we were left with a cold storage capacity of 14,000 metric tons, and we processed raw material in other plants,” Martinez said. “We expect to report sales of €100 million ($116.5 million) to €107 million ($124.7 million) this year.”

In 2016, sales came to €87 million ($101.4 million).

The company continued to supply customers in all its markets, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Brazil after the accident, and it plans to keep growing.

Many offers

As many other businesses in Spain, Fandicosta is a traditional, family-run company and, unlike others, it is in the process of “professionalizing,” Martinez said.

“We have strong finances, we have recovered from a tragic event and we had the ability to do so without leaving our clients short-handed, so we have many, many [takeover] offers,” Martinez said.

According to him, the situation and the history has is very attractive for the sector, but so far there is no interest on Fandicosta's side to divest.

“Of course we have many, many suitors, but we have said not to all, what I want to do is to professionalize Fandicosta,” Martinez said.

“My idea is to continue at the helm but through a management that’s less personal, if you like, and with a more powerful team,” Martinez said.

The offers range from proposals to participate in the company with a minority stake, to proposals of full acquisition.

One of the latest offers is the one made by a recently opened private fund belonging to the Sabadell bank to acquire a 33 percent of the company.

“Our business model, our strength in the markets and our experience is very attractive, but for now we are only saying no,” Martinez said.

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