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Dongwon's new plant to sell in US under StarKist brand

Vietseafood is reporting over the weekend that Dongwon Group plans to invest $21 million in Senegal to buy SNCDS cannery. The South Korea-based group signed the investment deal on Friday to take over one of the leading canneries in the African country.

According to Vietseafood, Dongwon Group Chairman Kim Jae-chul participated in the signing along with Senegalese political leaders.  A Dongwon spokesman told Vietseafood that the company plans to set up a new subsidiary to operate the cannery.  "The move is designed to expand our presence in Africa," as well as bringing "cutting edge technology and operating know-how" while providing 2,000 jobs.

SNCDS is the second largest cannery in Africa producing 25,000 tons of canned tuna and other fishery products.  "With the acquisition, we will tap into other African countries with potential to strengthen our presence in Europe," the spokesman said.

Of note, Senegal is a ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) country which means that canneries pay 0% duty when their product is imported into the European Union. 

Vietseafood reports that Dongwon does not have any canned tuna brands or distribution infrastructure in Europe and is expected that within the year the company will start looking for a take-over target within the European Union, where Spain is the major tuna consuming market.

 "In addition we plan to supply products from Senegal to the United States through StarKist, a company we absorbed a few years ago," the spokesman continued.

When Dongwon bought StarKist in 2008 from Del Monte Foods for between $359 and $363 million, it took over around two-fifths of the U.S.'s processed tuna market. 

Here at home, StarKist's close to 2,000 employees are on break during a two week shutdown that includes Thanksgiving Day. Pittsburgh based StarKist Co. spokesperson Mary Sestric told Samoa News last week that the cannery will suspend production from Nov. 20-27 for a planned maintenance shutdown.  She also mentioned that each employee is to receive two cases of wahoo as their Thanksgiving package.

Vietseafood is a consultant to the seafood industry providing product sourcing, price negotiations and independent quality control.

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