FISHING: Premier Ups Abalone Capacity
Recent Western Cape Business News
PREMIER FISHING, which is controlled by Cape-based empowerment company Sekunjalo Investments, has won a tender for a ‘strategic’ piece of land adjacent to its existing abalone farm in Gansbaai.
Premier owns Atlantic Abalone, which has a capacity to produce 120 tons of abalone a year for mainly the export market. The new property could play a major part in extending Premier’s abalone capacity.
Atlantic Abalone MD James Lawson-Smith says the company acquired an additional six hectares of land, which could double farm capacity to 250 tons within the next three to five years.
“This particular acquisition has been of a strategic nature in order to grow the abalone interest that Premier has in South Africa.”
CBN reckons that with an annual production of 250 tons the abalone segment would give Premier much needed diversification outside its traditional strengths in West Coast and South Coast lobster (which are also caught mainly for export markets).
There’s also good news on the employment front. Lawson-Smith reckons the new production capacity opened up by the land acquisition can lead to direct employment opportunities, which can support at least 80-100 members of the local community of Gansbaai. The farm currently provides permanent employment to around 87 people.
Sekunjalo acquired the farm in Gansbaai about 10 years ago, and in 2008 acquired the marine growers facility in PE from Transnet.
Abalone’s contribution to Premier’s profits has not yet been quantified (at least not in Sekunjalo’s accounts). No doubt the specialist business – like the lobster segment – will perform much better in a weak(er) rand environment.
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