Suárez and one of his company's tuna boats. Suárez and one of his company's tuna boats.

Damn the trade woes: Grupomar to invest

New sardine plant in Ensenada, expanded facilities in Manzanillo

Uncertainties over trade and forecasts of lower investment and domestic consumption notwithstanding, the Mexican conglomerate Grupomar plans to invest close to 1 billion pesos, about US $49 million, on expanding existing plants and building a new one.

Grupomar, or Grupo Marítimo Industrial, will invest close to 500 million pesos on a new sardine canning plant in Ensenada, Baja California, along with an industrial freezer and new boats.

The other half-billion pesos will be used to expand the firm’s shipyard and its frozen products and packaging factories in Manzanillo, Colima.

Grupomar’s CEO told Forbes México in an interview that it was important to remain optimistic despite United States President Donald Trump’s promise to renegotiate its trade agreement with Mexico.

“This should encourage Mexico to come together and do things a little bit better. One should not put all one’s eggs in one basket . . . this will make the market more diversified,” said Antonio Suárez Gutiérrez.

The investments will create between 400 and 500 jobs, he said.

Grupomar has investments in port services and fishing and food companies, including the tuna brand Atún Tuny, which has had to deal with trade barriers in both United States and European markets. “For that reason, we’ve had to open all kinds of markets elsewhere in the world, because the two largest ones are semi-closed,” said Suárez.

“These pressures have helped us in creating a great domestic market.”

Close to 15% of the firm’s tuna production is exported, while the remainder has helped it secure 33% of the market at home.

After receiving a Halal certification, which indicates the product is prepared according to Islamic law, Atún Tuny will be able to diversify its export markets and sell in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran starting this summer.

The Tuny brand currently has a presence in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Canada, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

A weak peso has forced the company to raise the prices of some of its products by 15%.

“We’re going through a difficult moment, we’ve got the pressure exerted by Trump and the serious devaluation of the peso . . . what I fear most is greater inflation than expected, and if we fall into an inflationary spiral the country’s economy will suffer,” Suárez said.

Source: Forbes México (sp)

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