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Coppens in alliance with Brazilian tilapia and shrimp feed player

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By Jane Byrne

Last updated on 20-Mar-2017 at 13:41 GMT2017-03-20T13:41:20Z

© istock/BsWei
© istock/BsWei

Alltech owned aqua feed and nutrition company, Coppens, said it has entered a strategic partnership with long established Brazilian fish feed player, Guabi.

Coppens and Guabi will share information on formulation, manufacturing techniques, and raw material and ingredient utilization.

Some 98% of Guabi’s production is for the Brazilian market. The tilapia and shrimp market are expanding in Brazil and Guabi is a renowned brand in these industries, said Patrick Charlton, CEO of Coppens. 

However, he said, Amazonian species farmed in Brazil are expected to play an important part in future product development at Guabi.

Tilapia is now the largest aquaculture industry in Brazil and one with a particularly bright future, says Rabobank.

The food and agribusiness research and advisory division of the Dutch bank, in a report published last year, predicted tilapia production to jump by 10% a year in Brazil, surpassing 490,000 tons by 2020.

This would make that Latin American country the fourth largest tilapia producer globally after China, Indonesia and Egypt.

Charlton said the Brazilian shrimp sector is also seeing growth: 

"The white spot is still playing a role in some regions but the producers are learning to handle the situation. The shrimp prices are very good at the moment and they are finishing the shrimp early to take advantage of it. As with all such disease challenges, the industry develops technologies and processes to enable them to manage the challenge and move forward."  

That Dutch firm also flagged up the appeal of Guapi’s expertise in extruded feeds, and its portfolio targeted at a wide variety of aquaculture species, from shrimp to native South America freshwater fish, and said Alltech’s newly developed algae derived DHA technology will be a significant focus of the alliance.

“In the coming months, we will discover what both companies can learn from each other and how we can cooperate in the near future,” said Charlton.

On acquiring Coppens, Alltech said the takeover would pave the way for geographical expansion by the Dutch fish feed player into new markets where its expertise could play a role. Historically, Coppens operated in 60 countries around the world, but mainly in Europe and Africa, whereas Alltech, active in 129 countries, has a far bigger global network.

"Guabi and Alltech have worked together for many years, and we see this partnership [with Coppens] as an ideal fit for both businesses. The Guabi business operates across many different farm species as well as fish, enabling Alltech to develop its business in this important market," added Charlton. 

Research at Coppens

Coppens specializes in nutrition for recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and recently announced a major $1m expansion of its research center in the Netherlands that will double capacity and allow it to carry out research on a wider range of species. Charlton told us that project is well underway and Coppens expects to open the renovated facility in the summer:

"The increased capacity will enable us to not only run larger studies with more treatments, but also to evaluate different species, including salt water species, and larger fish. This will enable us to do research relevant to Guabi as well as Coppens." 

In January, we reported on a new trout feed Coppens had brought to market that incorporated its parent company’s DHA-rich algae-derived fish oil replacer, ForPlus.

Besides the trout feed innovation project, collaboration between the research teams at Alltech and Coppens has spawned other innovations and developments for the aquatic feed market, according to Anno Galema, managing director of Coppens International.

“Over the last six months we have reviewed all of the Coppens International formulas to understand where we can use Alltech technologies to provide our customers with a performance advantage in the market,” he told us.

Coppens has now replaced all of its inorganic trace minerals with Alltech’s Bioplex trace mineral complex. Morevoer, it said, Alltech’s salmon expertise and its own knowledge of RAS smolt production informed the development of a range of smolt feeds.

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