I&J, an AVI subsidiary and deep sea Cape Hake fishing company, announced today that it had invested more than half a billion rand into the acquisition of three fishing vessels and the upgrading of its existing Cape Town-based processing facility. This would position the company for significantly increased efficiency and capacity, and create the opportunity for over 75 new jobs to be created.
The investment includes the commissioning of a state-of-the-art new deep sea fishing trawler, valued at approximately R150m and the purchase of two other fishing vessels - a Freezer factory ship worth R255m and a deep sea trawler, worth R45m. This is in addition to the recent R67m upgrade of its Woodstock processing facility in Cape Town, where the daily catch is converted into product for both the local and international markets.
Jonty Jankovich-Besan, Managing Director of the AVI subsidiary, I&J, said, “This is a major investment programme for us and possibly the single largest in the industry for the last 25 years. This series of investments demonstrates I&J and its shareholders’ recognition that constant investment is absolutely necessary in such a complex industry. It also reflects the company’s confidence and belief in the industry and in the value of the Cape Hake resource which is globally recognised as one of the best managed fisheries in the world,” he says.
According to Jankovich-Besan, the investments meet the strict AVI and I&J Investment criteria and will allow I&J to catch and process its quota more effectively and efficiently, underpinning both its current operating fundamentals and the returns both qualitatively and quantitatively to its numerous stakeholders.
“Although part of this investment is to replace aging fishing vessels and processing technology, we are also pleased to be creating new jobs within our business with these investments - leading to a minimum of 75 new jobs in the Western Cape.”
I&J currently employs over 1,500 employees.
After a lengthy search, I&J identified and acquired a freezer factory ship built and currently operating in Norway. “She has been one of the top performing Norwegian fishing vessels, is in excellent condition and we expect her to perform well in the robust South African ocean, in both the Cape Hake deep sea trawl and the mid-water trawl Horse Mackerel fisheries.” says Jankovich-Besan.
Recognising the need for additional capacity, I&J have also commissioned a brand new deep sea trawler –one of the very few new deep sea fishing vessel of this scale to be commissioned in the last 10 years. In addition, the company has procured a smaller second hand deep sea trawler, to augment its requirements
The first of the newly purchased vessels has already arrived in Cape Town and is already fishing. The remaining two vessels are expected to be delivered to Cape Town in August 2015.
According to Jankovich-Besan, I&J’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation was a key factor in the purchase of the new vessels. “This certification is key to the value of our products in the international market. Without it, we would not have been in a position to purchase such high value assets,” he says. I&J was one of the pioneers in attaining the MSC credential for the Cape Hake fishery, back in 2004.
As part of the upgrade to the Woodstock facility, advanced machinery and production flow lines to the value of R67m, has been installed by Marel of Iceland. This factory is critical to the I&J business, converting the daily wet fish catches to high value retail and foodservice products, sold both locally and internationally. The investment will deliver significantly improved quality, yields and efficiencies, demanded by our sophisticated markets. This facility, employs over 500 people directly and many more, indirectly.
“The Factory upgrade allows I&J to convert its raw material, at much improved quality, delivering a better yield more efficiently, creating more sophisticated and better quality products for ever more demanding customers in a world class fish processing facility,” says Jankovich-Besan.