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Composition of the Polish seafood sector
In 2015, Polish fishing companies generated EUR 49 million in landings income. Processing companies in Poland added EUR 2.6 billion in production revenues in 2016. This indicates that Poland’s position in the seafood value chain lies more in processing than harvesting.
Poland had a EUR 247 million trade deficit in fish and fish products in 2016. Poland imported approximately EUR 2 billion in fish and fish products in 2016. 70% of these imports came from the EU. Poland’s main import partners were Sweden (40%), Norway (10%) and Germany (9%).
Poland exported EUR 1.7 billion in fish and fish products in 2016. More than a quarter of all fish exports were to Germany. The second and third largest export partners were France (5%) and Italy (3%). 92% of all fish and fish product exports from Poland were destined for other EU member states.
In 2015, there were 873 registered commercial fishing vessels. These were registered to 733 enterprises. 86 fishing companies – 12% of all fishing enterprises – owned more than one vessel. 93% of all vessels were active (STECF, 2018).
The Polish fish catching segment employed 2,280 FTE. The fish processing segment in Poland employed 16,569 FTE. The high level of employment in the fish processing segment compared to the fish catching segment is also reflected in their respective revenues.
Half of the fish and fish products that are sold in the seafood market in Poland are sold as frozen. Dried/smoked/salted fish products account for approximately a quarter of all fish and fish products sold on the Polish market. Frozen and canned fish products account for 18% and 9%, respectively. 84% of all fish and fish products are sold through retailers, the remainder is sold in the food service industry (see Figure 88 for more detail).
Approximately 55% of fresh fish is sold under retailers’ own labels, and 40% is sold unbranded (see Table 64). With 95%, the majority of canned fish products are sold branded. Approximately two thirds of frozen fish and fish products are sold branded, 18% is sold unbranded, and 19% is sold under the retailers’ own labels. Slightly more than three quarters of dried/smoked/salted fish products are sold branded, the remainder is sold with the retailers’ own labels.
Stanpol is the most important player in the Polish fresh fish segment, accounting for a market share of approximately 12%, while Rybhand accounts for about 11%. In the frozen fish product sector, Abramczyk holds an important position with around 16%, as well as German Frosta with a share of approximately 15%. In the canned fish product segment, Lisner (part of Theo Müller Group (Germany)) holds a market share of around 22%, while Graal has a share of about 17%. Superfish, also part of Graal, is an important player in the dried/smoked/saled segment with a market share of approximately 25%, while Suempol has a share of around 22% (FFT, 2018).
There are eleven EU recognized producer organisations. Two of these represent freshwater fisheries. The other nine represent marine fisheries (see Table 65). The North Atlantic Producers Organisation represents the distant water fleet, fishing in the Atlantic and African waters. The other eight POs are regional POs, serving several fishing communities along the Baltic coast engaged in coastal and local small-scale fishing. Due to lack of data availability, the number of vessels and members is not provided.
This section describes the company structures of the six largest fishing companies in Poland. All these companies are engaged in the pelagic sector, since Polish fisheries in the Baltic Sea target primarily pelagic species.
Arctic Navigations and Atlantex
Samherji operates three pelagic freezer-trawlers in Poland. The vessels are owned by two fishing companies that are members of the North Atlantic Producer Organisation – Arctic Navigations and Atlantex. These companies catch fish in Atlantic, African and Baltic waters. Arctic Navigations operates the Polonus (GDY-36), while Atlantex operates the Alina (GDY-147) and the Saga (GDY-150) (PAOP, 2018). Both Atlantex and Arctic Navigations are majority owned by Icelandic company Samherji (Orbis, 2018v).
Samherji is a very large, vertically integrated fish company. In 2016, the company had an operating revenue of EUR 636 million, an increase from the EUR 571 million generated in the previous year. The company held total assets of EUR 927 million in 2016, an increase from a year earlier when it held total assets worth EUR 837 million, with 1,554 employees (Orbis, 2018v). There are four current shareholders (Orbis, 2018ad). The owners of Samherji are shown in Figure 89. As Samherji is a large international fishing conglomerate, Figure 90 presents the part of the company structure that is related to its activities in Poland.
Samherji owns fishing companies in Germany (see section 11.3.1), the United Kingdom, Spain, the Faroe Islands, France (see section 10.3.4), Latvia, and Portugal, among others. In most of the countries the company is vertically integrated with fish processing, coldstores and distribution. Samherji markets the Icefresh Seafoods brand (Orbis, 2018v).
Samherji is also engaged in a range of other business sectors, in general through minority participations. However, most of its activities are related to seafood. In total, Samherji has investments in 632 companies (Orbis, 2018v).
Samherji’s subsidiaries in Poland are also vertically integrated. Atlantex is 100% owned by Samherji, through the Icelandic company Saebol fjarfestingafelag and the Cypriot company Esja Shipping (Orbis, 2018v). In 2015, the company had an operating revenue of EUR 34 million, showing a slight decrease from a year earlier when it’s operating revenue reached EUR 31 million. In 2015, Atlantex held total assets of EUR 36 million, an increase by EUR 7 million since 2014 (Orbis, 2018ad). Through the producer’s organisation, Atlantex is a co-owner of a coldstore facility and a logistics company.
Artic Navigations is a majority-owned subsidiary of Samherji (Orbis, 2018ae). Arctic Navigations operates the freezer-trawler Polonus (GDY-36). In 2016, the company had an operating revenue of EUR 12.6 million, a slight increase from the EUR 12.8 million reported in the previous year. The company held total assets of EUR 17 million in 2016, an increase by EUR 1 million from the previous year (Orbis, 2018ac).
The shareholders of Arctic Navigations are CR Cuxhavener Reederei, AN Ehf, and Alzopol Polska:
- CR Cuxhavener (Germany) is owned by Samherji, KEA (Iceland), and three persons that are related to Samherji (Orbis, 2018af) (see Figure 51).
- AN Ehf (Iceland) is ultimately owned by Moshvoll Ehf (Iceland) and J og K Ehf (Orbis, 2018ah). Moshvoll is a holding company (RSK, 2018a), while J og K Ehf is engaged in fishing activities and coldstores (RSK, 2018b). Relations of Moshvoll and J og K with Samherji are not clear, but the neighbouring addresses may indicate that a relationship exists. In 2016, Moshvoll had total assets of USD 2.8 million (2015: USD 2.1 million); (Orbis, 2018ai).
- Alzopol Polska is 100% owned by Bogusław Szemioth, who is also chairs the North Atlantic Producer Organisation (Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy, 2018b).
Latvian Fishing Company is owned by Arctic Navigations and by German Mecklenburger Hochsee Fisherei, the latter being a subsidiary of PP Group (see section 18.3.1). Latvian Fishing Company operates, through the fisheries company Batterfisa in Latvia, the trawler Dorado LVL-2156 (the former Polonus); (Orbis, 2018ae).
Arctic Navigations owns 66% of the North Atlantic Producer Organisation, the other part being owned by Atlantex. This makes Icelandic company Samherji the majority-owner of the Polish producer’s organisation.
The North Atlantic Producer Organisation owns two companies: the coldstore Chlodina Gdansk (Mojepanstwo, 2018a) and 50% of Samskip Logistics (Orbis, 2018ae). The other 50% is owned by Samskip Logistics International (Netherlands), which is ultimately owned by SMT Partners (Netherlands) (KvK, 2018x). The ownership details of SMT Partners are not revealed by the Dutch company register. Samskip is headquartered in the Netherlands but was originally founded in Iceland in 1990 (Samskip, 2018).
Gadus is a vertically integrated pelagic fisheries company that operates 16 fishing vessels, a transport company, processing facilities and a chain of retail shops throughout Poland (Gadus, 2018). The company is majority-owned by the Sztormowski family, fishermen from Gdynia. The French company Kos holds 10% of the shares (Orbis, 2018ag).
In 2015, Gadus had an operating revenue of EUR 45 million, up from EUR 27 million a year earlier. The company held total assets of EUR 21 million in 2015, an increase by EUR 5 million from the previous year (Orbis, 2018w).
Figure 91 presents the company structure of Gadus. DP Pelagic operates one fishing vessel, the WŁA-139, and is a seafood wholesale trader in Gdynia. DP Pelagic is owned by the Sztormowksi family (including indirectly via Gadus) and by three Swedish companies: Västkustfisk, FF Skagen, and (via their joint-venture) Sweden Pelagic Västervik (Mojepanstwo, 2018f). In 2016, DP Pelagic generated a turnover of EUR 272,000, a decrease from the EUR 286,000 generated in the previous year. DP Pelagic held total assets of EUR 2.6 million in 2016, a decrease by 0.1 million from the previous year (Orbis, 2018ag).
Pomorkso Organizacja Producentow Arka (Pomeran Organisation of Producers – Arka) is not an official producer organisation. It is a company with three shareholders: the Sztormowski family, Gadus and DP Pelagic (Orbis, 2018ag).
The above description has shown that Gadus is both vertically and horizontally integrated. Its large fleet of vessels is an indication of domestic horizontal integration. Its activities throughout the seafood value chain – from fish catching to retail – are an indication of its vertical integration.
Szkuner owns five fishing vessels, all over 26 metres long and with main engine powers of 420 kW. Szkuner operates a shipyard, a cold store, and processes fish in the harbour town of Władysławowo. The main species caught by the fleet are sprats, herring and cod. The company is state-owned by the District of Puck (Szkuner, 2018). In 2016, the company had an operating revenue of EUR 6.5 million, up from EUR 5.2 million in the previous year. The company held total assets of EUR 14.6 million in 2016, down from EUR 16 million in 2015 (Orbis, 2018ac).
As shown in Figure 92, Szkuner holds a 49% share in the producer organisation Organizacja Producentów Ryb-Władysławowo (see Figure 92). The other shares are held by Koga-Maris (see section 19.3.4) and vessel-owner Edyta Korenczuk (Orbis, 2018s).
The above analyses shows that Szkunner is both vertically and horizontally integrated. It has engaged in horizontal integration through the expansion of its fleet with in Poland. The companies processing activities and cold store are indications of its vertical integration.
Koga-Maris operates four fishing vessels from Hel harbour (Orbis, 2018aa). In 2016, Koga-Maris had an operating revenue of EUR 4.3 million, an increase from the EUR 3.7 million generated in the previous year. The company held total assets of EUR 6.2 million in 2016, a decrease by EUR 0.2 million in the previous year (Orbis, 2018aa).
Koga Maris is owned by the Groenwald family (see Figure 93). The family also owns a trading company, an aquaculture company, and a cold store. Koga-Maris owns 27% of producer organisation Organizacja Producentów Rybnych Wladyslawowo. The coldstore is co-owned by the Sea Port Authority of Hel Koga, a department of the Municipality of Hel City.
The above description shows that Koga-Maris has engaged in horizontal integration through the expansion of its fleet. Moreover, its investments in aquaculture can also be considered a form of horizontal integration. The company has also engaged in limited vertical integration through its cold store facilities and trading company.
Centrofish ZiemackiJarosław owns five fishing vessels. Centrofish ZiemackiJarosław’s vessels target cod as well as other species (MSC, 2014). 19.3.5. Centrofish ZiemackiJarosław is a member of the main board of the Zrzeszenie Rybaków Morskich (Association of Sea Fisherman), the largest producer organisation in Poland (Mojepanstwo, 2018d).
The fact that Centrofish Ziemacki Jarosław operates several vessels is a sign of horizontal integration. The company has, however, not engaged in vertical integration.
Denega-Necel (Figure 95 is a partnership of three fishermen (Mojepanstwo, 2018e). The partnership owns three fishing vessels. Denega-Necel is a member of the Zrzeszenie Rybaków Morskich producer organisation (MSC, 2014). Operating revenue and assets are unknown. The partnership had 35 employees in 2013. The partnership does not have any subsidiaries (Orbis, 2018z).
The above description shows that Denega-Necel has engaged in some horizontal integration as the three fishermen pooled together in creating the joint venture partnership with three vessels. The company has, however, not engaged in vertical integration.
The analysis of Polish fish catching companies has shown that three of the six companies have engaged in vertical integration. One of these is part of a fully integrated, international fish conglomerate based in Iceland. One of the other two has received investments from Swedish fishermen. The last of these integrated operations is fully-owned by Polish fishermen. All the analysed enterprises have engaged in horizontal integration through the expansion of their fleets. The fleet expansion is limited to Poland.
It is noteworthy that Poland in comparison to other EU countries has a high processing revenue (see 19.1), which seems to be based largely on imports. This research did not identify vertical integration carried out by mid-/downstream companies investing in the upstream fish catching segment, or the vice versa.