Thai Union formed JV to produce high grade tuna oil

February 16, 2010 09:11

Thai Union Frozen Products PLC (TUF)'s president, Thiraphong Chansiri, revealed that TUF's subsidiary Thai Union Manufacturing, Co., Ltd., entered into an agreement with Nippon Suisan Kaisha Limited, a leading Japanese seafood company, to set up TN Fine Chemicals Co., Ltd. With the registered capital of 90 million baht, the new firm aims to develop seafood by-products into fine chemical products that can be used as ingredients in dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products, reports with reference to Thai Frozen Group.

While Thailand is a major seafood producer in the world, the country is also the world's number one manufacturer and exporter of processed tuna. Thai Union Group management believes that seafood byproducts have significant potential for further development into high value-added products. TN Fine Chemicals plans to invest more than 80 million baht in equipment and machinery based on new production technologies that are never used in Thailand before. The first phase of production will begin with tuna oil products. The firm aims to produce high grade tuna oil suitable as an ingredient for baby formulas that help enhance brain development in young children.

Besides tuna oil, the joint investment also plans to extract glucosamine from shrimp and crab shells. Glucosamine is a key ingredient of pharmaceutical products for treating arthritis. The chemical can act as a lubricating fluid in the human joints.

Khun Thiraphong further emphasized, "These new projects will make better use of waste materials from our main seafood production lines, helping us achieve our environmental objectives, while adding values to these by-products and diversify our product portfolio."

At this initial phase, TN Fine Chemicals will produce 540 ton of tuna oil per year, with sales expected to exceed 125 million baht. Japan, the US, and the European Union are key export markets for this product. This investment represents a significant step in turning Thailand's seafood by-products into high value-added export items with a potential to generate substantial income for the country and promoting a more efficient use of natural resources.

As for TUF, business performance for the first three quarters has shown remarkable growth. Net profit rose 39% from the same period a year ago to reach 2,625.4 million baht. Sales in Thai baht term equaled 51,792.8 million baht, or 1,495.6 million US dollar term. The company is confident that all of its subsidiary companies can continue to grow sustainably in terms of sales and profits.

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