Breizon Limited, a well established Irish seafood company based in Connemara, with assistance from BIM’s Collective Route to Market Scheme, has successfully established a joint venture company with two French partners in Lorient, France.
The new business venture will involve a collective agreement between Breizon and Keem Bay Fish Products to supply seafood products (shellfish supplied by Breizon and smoked seafood from Keem Bay) to meet the growing demand of the French market. The joint venture company set up by Breizon and French partners Argis Galacsea and Les Viviers de Keroman in Lorient will act as a hub to enable the partners to deliver fresh Irish seafood produce direct to retailers, restaurants and fish mongers.
The Irish seafood sector is holding its own despite the recession with sales reaching an estimated €749 million in 2011. In addition, exports for the first half of 2012 are up 20% in value to €253 million compared with the first half of 2011. As identified in the Government’s Food Harvest 2020 report, the sector needs to build scale in order to compete effectively. Jason Whooley, BIM’s CEO explains how the seafood processing sector is currently operating; ‘There are 180 registered seafood companies with processing facilities in Ireland; a large proportion of these companies are small scale operations with a turnover of between €3 and €10 million. In contrast, our typical European competitor has a turnover in the order of €50 million. This lack of scale limits our ability to invest in the market place and maximise the profitability of the sector. To overcome this challenge, BIM has continued to work with industry this year on an ambitious business development strategy consisting of support packages and expert advice to provide capital and develop greater synergies within the sector to ensure we can compete more effectively on the international market’
Breizon has been involved in the Irish seafood industry for 35 years, mainly exporting to Spain and France. The company is based in the heart of Connemara adjacent to the Atlantic shore in Rossaveal, Co. Galway. The bulk of their business currently consists of live shellfish, processed crab, shrimp products and smoked organic fish products (sourced from Keem Bay Fish Products). Breizon also export large volumes of Connemara rope mussels from Killary.
Loic Trahan, Managing Director of Breizon Limited explains how this new venture will benefit his business; ‘Our plan is to collaborate closely with Irish producers and other processors to market a comprehensive range of top quality Irish seafood products to our French customers. My family is originally from France so we understand what French customers are looking for when it comes to seafood. We aim to use our collective experience and resources to increase sales and boost margins through this channel which will improve cooperation between processors and producers in Ireland. It will also allow us to access an extensive array of valuable contacts through our French partners to investigate new niche markets for our products’
Pictured above: Loic Trahan, Managing Director, Breizon Limited and Jason Whooley, BIM CEO in Rossaveal, Co. Galway at the launch of Breizon’s Joint Venture Operation to be based in Lorient, France.