A Year of Challenges and Continued Expansion
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to businesses and communities globally. Thai Union set up a globally cascading crisis management structure, from the corporate center down to each of our locations, to develop and implement our pandemic response to keep our employees safe and our operations running.
- We increased our holding in TUMD Luxembourg S.a.r.l., the joint-venture vehicle in three Russian seafood companies, to 90 percent, giving us operational control of our Russian business.
- We further expanded our work with, and investments in, innovative food-tech startups. Our Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund has grown to six investments in the areas of alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology.
- Tri-Union Seafood LLC has reached an agreement in principle to settle antitrust litigation cases in the U.S.
- We invested in a new joint venture, Food and Beverage United Company Limited, with Thai Beverage PLC., to collaborate on product development, production and distribution of food and beverage products.
- We repurchased 117 million shares for THB 1.5 billion to help manage the Company’s excess liquidity.
For Thai Union, 2019 was a year of further expansion and also ongoing focus on improving efficiencies across all of our business units.
- We expanded our footprint in Thailand’s domestic seafood retail business, increasing our stake in Thammachart Seafood Retail Co., Ltd. (TSR) to 65 percent. TSR provides professional management services to leading Thai retailers for their seafood counters, handling fresh and frozen products at 195 locations throughout Thailand.
- We made a strategic investment in Aegir Seafood Company, one of the leading producers of cod liver in Iceland. The investment will support the growth of the cod liver business for Thai Union’s King Oscar brand, a Norwegian-based manufacturer of cod liver, sardines and mackerel.
- We signed an agreement with Shanghai Win-Chain Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. to become strategic partners in supplying Thai Union’s seafood products in the Chinese market, both online and offline.
- We announced the foundation of a corporate venture fund as part of our continuous investment in innovation, with an initial commitment of USD 30 million for investments in innovative companies that are developing breakthrough technologies in food-tech. Our first investment was in Flying Spark, an alternative protein start-up.
- Thai Union Group subsidiary, John West Foods Ltd. was found not guilty of doing business directly connected to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, ending lengthy legal proceedings brought at the instigation of the UK Marine Management Organisation.
- Thai Union subsidiary Chicken of the Sea® reached a settlement with the majority of plaintiffs in an ongoing antitrust litigation in the U.S.
For Thai Union, 2018 was a year of continued expansion, while also maintaining a focus on our existing operations to ensure not only greater efficiencies but also that they opened up new opportunities for the business.
- We entered into an agreement to acquire a 25.1 percent stake in Thammachart Seafood Retail Co., Ltd. (TSR) for approximately THB 37 million. TSR provides professional management services to Thai retailers for their seafood counters, handling fresh and frozen product at 158 locations in Thailand.
- We acquired a 45 percent stake in TUMD Luxembourg S.a.r.l (TUMD). TUMD wholly owns three Russian companies: Dalpromryba Limited Liability Company; Torgovo-Promyshlenny Kompleks “Dalpromryba” Limited Liability Company; and Maguro Limited Liability Company. These companies are collectively known as the DPR Group (DPR), a retail focused fish and seafood business which is Russia’s number one canned tuna producer.
- We increased our shareholding in Thai Union Feedmill Co., Ltd., a Thai Union Group subsidiary, buying 28.46 percent of newly issued ordinary shares to bring our total holding to 66.9 percent of total paid-up shares.
- We acquired the remaining 10 percent of EHS Training and Services Co., Ltd., (previously T-Holding Co., Ltd.), a Thai Union Group subsidiary, in which we previously held a 90 percent stake.
- Building on our Ingredients business, we successfully launched our tuna oil refinery in Rostock, Germany. With this plant, Thai Union has become the only refiner of high-grade tuna oil with complete end-to-end supply chain and production management. Our Ingredients business unit will commercialize an exciting new B2B line of high-value ingredients identified.
- We introduced Thammachart Seafood's premium seafood store, The Lobster Lab. The store is located in the Alibaba's retail chain Hema in Shanghai, China. This take-out and sit-down restaurant concept serving live lobsters from North America is meeting the growing Chinese consumer's demand for tasty and nutritious seafood.
- We increased our shareholding in Thai Union Feedmill Co., Ltd. (TFM), a Thai Union Group subsidiary, from 51 percent to 63.05 percent in a first step and then to 66.90 percent in a second step after registered capital increase performed by TFM
- In August, we took over from its subsidiary Thai Union Feedmill Co. Ltd., its 51 percent stake in TMAC, a joint venture with Mitsubishi
- Thai Union subsidiary Européenne de la Mer’s announced its intention to divest the loss-making chilled salmon business in Scotland, The Edinburgh Salmon Company Ltd (“ESCo”). However, after no feasible alternative solution to closure was found during the collective consultation period, ESCo ended operations on 31 December, 2018.
- We officially opened the co-located office for Chicken of the Sea International and Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods in Los Angeles. The new Thai Union office is the regional hub for our North American operations.
In 2017, we made several adjustments to our organization and global structure as we pursue more robust global integration, expand our operations, strengthen our corporate center, and create more synergies with our acquired businesses.
- We integrated our Thai branded business, which manages the Sealect and Fisho brands, into our Thai Union Emerging Markets business unit under Thai Union Group PCL. At the same time, we closed T-Holding as a separate operating company. This creates efficiencies by using shared functions inside Thai Union. It also builds a stronger South East Asian branded business segment by leveraging the former T-Holding team over a larger geography, expands our brand reach, and realizes operational synergies.
- We fully established Thai Union China, with offices in Shanghai and Beijing, as a wholly-owned Thai Union subsidiary. The business offers high quality shrimp, salmon, toothfish and other speciality seafood under our global King Oscar premium brand to serve Chinese consumers in modern trade and through our online shop. We also built a Live Lobster business in China together with Alibaba and its retail store chain, Hema, and we set up a new food service channel to supply restaurants, hotels and other food and beverage clients. There are now more than 20 Thai Union seafood experts in our team and we plan to build upon the strong growth we see in this market.
- To streamline our business, improve efficiencies and remove duplicate cost structures, we have delayered our European organization, and established a smaller management committee looking after the commercial businesses, our finance and business services, legal affairs and our European supply chain. Besides reducing overhead costs, the key objective of this move was to empower the operational country organizations and plants to more directly drive profitable growth and cost productivity while transforming European corporate functions into efficient business services supporting the entrepreneurs in the countries and acting as an extended arm of our Bangkok headquarter functions.
- To strengthen our private label business in Europe and create an end-to-end business responsibility, we established Thai Union Trading Europe, located in Utrecht/The Netherlands, reporting directly to our global private label business unit in Bangkok. We combined the existing private label business of Thai Union Europe with the European sales activities originating in Bangkok to form a new, combined sales and marketing hub for our ambient private label and co-packing operations, supplying European clients directly from our factories in Europe, Asia and the U.S.
- We established a new regional office for North America by merging our two separate offices into one regional hub, based in Los Angeles. With this move, we have combined the teams in finance & accounting, IT, HR, sustainability and communications into one business services team to support all commercial and supply chain activities. The combined office will not only improve efficiencies in our overhead structures, but also allow us to benefit from stronger collaboration across the organization, in our account teams, in procurement, logistics and in marketing.
- We successfully completed the divestiture of our fleet in Ghana and no longer operate boats by ourselves.
- In our continuous aim to create value for our shareholders, we bought out the minority investors in Pakfood in Thailand as well as in YCC in Vietnam, with both now fully-owned Thai Union subsdiaries*.
- To drive operational efficiencies, we adjusted our work force and production scheme to match the work load, which increased productivity at our plants, in particular those in Tema and Lyons.
- To reflect the importance of Sustainability and Innovation to our global management, we promoted Dr. Darian McBain and Dr. Tunyawat Kasemsuwan to the Global Leadership Team (GLT), effective March 2018.
Remark: *99.7% in Pakfood, 100% in YCC
Thai Union Group completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Rügen Fisch. This synergy will help the Group enter the German market, one of Europe’s largest, contributing to our growth in Europe
Thai Union entered into a joint venture agreement to acquire a 40 percent equity stake of Avanti Feeds Limited’s wholly owned shrimp processing unit Avanti Frozen Foods Private Limited India. The investment was aimed at helping diversify the Group’s shrimp sourcing and operational risks and add production capacity to meet growing demand for the firm’s products
The company acquired a majority stake in Canadian lobster processor Les Pecheries de Chez Nous (Chez Nous), which recorded sales of approximately CAD50 million in 2015. Chez Nous, based in New Brunswick, Canada has direct relationships with fishermen in both Canada and Maine in the northeastern U.S., a processing facility strategically located on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and is investing in a live lobster holding facility
Announced that it has made a USD 575 million strategic investment in Red Lobster Seafood Co., the world’s largest seafood restaurant company. Golden Gate Capital remains majority owner and has retained operational control of Red Lobster, which Thai Union has worked closely with for over two decades. The investment will help build Thai Union’s direct-to-consumer channel
Was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) Emerging Markets for the third consecutive year. Thai Union’s SeaChange® sustainability strategy successfully drove the score for Materiality to an industry best-in-class 100th percentile. With strong performances from Business Codes of Conduct, and Labor and Human Rights contributed to the improvements that ranked in the 96th and 91st percentile, respectively. The increase in Thai Union’s score indicates the company’s efforts and discipline in applying sustainable practices and accountability across its business and supply chain are achieving results.
The company announced that it will eliminate recruitment fees for all workers in its factories and processing plants, including workers both from within Thailand and also from overseas. Thai Union’s workforce in Thailand is composed of workers primarily from Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, recruited locally or directly through formal channels engaging licensed recruitment agents in Cambodia and Myanmar. The move follows Thai Union’s continued development of an ethical migrant worker recruitment policy.
Thai Union was nominated for Thomson Reuters Foundation’s inaugural Stop Slavery Award. Providing safe, legal and freely-chosen employment and stamping out labor abuses in the supply chain is of critical importance to the company. In addition to the significant programs in place for its employees, Thai Union is working with a wide range of organizations to ensure that those working in the industry at large are also protected.
Announced an ambitious strategy to ensure 100 percent of its branded tuna is sustainably sourced with a commitment of achieving a minimum of 75 percent by 2020. As part of the new tuna strategy, Thai Union is investing USD 90 million in initiatives that will increase the supply of sustainable tuna. This includes establishing 11 new Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) around the world.
Thai Union implemented a successful global corporate rebranding, bringing all divisions of the organization under the umbrella of a common vision, mission, core values and visual identity, so as to drive alignment towards a common corporate culture.
- the name of Thai Union Frozen PCL (TUF) was changed to Thai Union Group PCL (TU).
- the name of MW Brands SAS was changed to Thai Union Europe.
- the name of Thai Union International Inc. was changed to Thai Union North America Inc.
To accelerate our progress in actionable innovation, Thai Union Group invested over THB 100 million to launch the Global Innovation Incubator (GII) – a world-class R&D facility and the first of its kind in Thailand.
Thai Union Group entered a joint venture with Savola Foods Company, one of the largest consumer goods producers and distributors in the Middle East (including brands such as Afia, Alarabi Ladan and Yudum). The companies will mutually benefit, with Savola gaining increased access to global seafood and Thai Union connecting with regional expertise.
Thai Union's completed acquisition of Orion Seafood International, a leading global supplier of lobster based in the U.S., makes the company's Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods brand a top player in the lobster market, and bolsters its shrimp and crab businesses.
Thai Union PCL broadened its presence in Europe with the acquisition of MerAlliance SAS, the largest producer of smoked salmon in France and the fourth largest Europe-wide.
Thai Union PCL acquired King Oscar AS of Norway, the number one premium shelf-stable sardine brand in Norway, U.S. and Australia, with over 140 years of heritage in quality.
Thai Union Group is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) Emerging Markets for the first time, marking international recognition of Thai Union's efforts towards sustainable development. Thai Union Group has been included in the DJSI in 2015 and 2016 as well, increasing its scores each year.
Thai Union PCL signed onto the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, committing to its Ten Principles in developing, implementing and disclosing responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices. The main pillars of the Global Compact are human rights, environment, labour standards and anti-corruption. In 2015, we began working with other leading organizations in Thailand to establish a local UN Global Compact Network.
In collaboration with the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN), Thai Union Group invested THB 10 million to establish two pre-schools in Thailand for the children of Thai Union workers and the local community. Three more pre-schools will be launched by 2020 as part of our commitment to promoting lifelong learning opportunities for our employees and their families.
Thai Union PCL invested 40 percent in Pakfood Public Company Ltd., one of Thailand’s largest seafood and ready-to-eat food processors, and later increased its ownership to 49.97 percent.
Thai Union PCL made its first major expansion into Europe with the acquisition of MW Brands SAS (now Thai Union Europe), producer and distributor of OEM and branded shelf-stable tuna and other seafood. The company's brand portfolio included leading national and regional brands such as John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier and Mareblu.
Thai Union PCL founded US Pet Nutrition LLC to produce and market OEM and branded pet-food and pet-care products in the U.S.
Thai Union PCL co-founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). The ISSF’s mission is to undertake and facilitate science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of global tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting tuna ecosystem health.
Thai Union PCL secured a new processing facility in Papua New Guinea via a 33.33 percent investment in Moresby International Holdings, in partnership with Century Canning Corporation Ltd. and Frabelle Fishing Corporation Ltd.
Thai Union PCL acquired a majority stake in Vietnam-based canned shellfish and tuna producer, Yueh Chyang Canned Food Ltd.
Thai Union PCL invested in a 14.99 percent stake of India-based Avanti Feeds, a producer of shrimp-feed and shrimp products.
Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods was established to market frozen seafood in the U.S., and later merged with Empress International and was renamed Tri-Union Frozen Products, Inc.
Thai Union PCL acquired 100 percent of Empress International Ltd. to improve seafood distribution capabilities in the U.S.
Thai Union PCL made our first overseas investment with the acquisition of Chicken of the Sea, the number three canned tuna brand in the U.S.
Thai Union went public with a listing in the Stock Exchange of Thailand as Thai Union Frozen Products PCL (TUF).
Thai Union entered a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation and Hagoromo Foods Corporation – Thai Union customers and Japan’s major trade, food production and distribution companies. Both corporations played a significant role in developing Thai Union products to meet international standards and become competitive in the world market.
Thai Union Frozen Products PCL was founded with an initial registered capital of THB 25 million. The company primarily produces and exports frozen seafood.
Thai Union subsidiary Songkla Canning PCL was established in April 1981.
Our company was established in August 1977 as Thai Union Manufacturing Co. Ltd., a processor and exporter of canned tuna.