Less than two weeks ago, Chilean salmon supplier New World Currents President Eduardo Goycoolea and I were discussing a trend that was baffling him.
The company, which targets China with fresh salmon, tracked a 15 percent rise in salmon imports into China in 2018, a number which Goycoolea said he simply couldn't explain.
"I'm shocked," he told me.
It's a trend playing out among salmon suppliers everywhere. As surprising as the rising volume is, it's nothing compared to the shock that hit the industry on Sunday night with the announcement that Chinese giant Legend Holdings, majority shareholder in, among other things, Lenovo computers, would be acquiring Chile's Australis Seafoods for $880 million (€771.7 million).
The deal is the largest in Chilean salmon farming history, and in fact ranks among the largest in the seafood industry.
Though we can debate the valuation (naturally, Chilean salmon farmers were very happy with it), the company's rationale was a sound one, particularly given its strategy.
Legend, via agricultural subsidiary Joyvio, has long been an ag investor overseas, including in Chile, where it already owns kiwi and blueberry operations, paving the way for a fresh supply chain.
The question now is how these two trends will intersect. With giants such as Legend and Alibaba looking worldwide for seafood to move through their insatiable supply chains, it may be easier for them to simply vertically integrate than it is to be bothered with negotiations; it's less about price and more about getting the volume.
The Legend deal is a glimpse of the future -- a future where China finally awakens as a seafood investor and begins bending the image to the will of its seemingly endless demand.
Hidden at the bottom of Legend's understated rationale for the acquisition of Australis was an acknowledgement that the deal dovetails nicely with China's "belt and road" initiative -- an ambitious infrastructure project aimed at creating trade routes between China and 70 countries across the world. If you're not acquainted with it, you should be -- it will have a dramatic impact on your business eventually.
The drive for resources, the deep pockets, a world-class logistics network: it adds up to more deals from more buyers.
Sparebank 1 Markets Analyst Tore Tonseth summed it up best to my colleague Anders Furuset: "This is certainly not the last we'll see from China."
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Sparebank 1的市场分析师托恩·赛思（Tore Tonseth）对我的同事安德斯·福吕塞（Anders Furuset）做了最好的总结:“我们今后仍将看到更多来自中国企业的收购案例。”