New Jersey based, Epicore, currently employs over 35 people.
Ecuador shrimp market access
The deal, said Neovia, gives it direct access to the Ecuadorian shrimp market. It would also help consolidate the French group’s “recognized aquaculture expertise in Latin America and Vietnam.”
Epicore, it said, has storage space and a key technical center within its Ecuadorian subsidiary that facilitates the distribution of its products and services in the largest shrimp producing country in the Americas and the fourth largest producer in the world, according to FAO 2016 data.
Ecuadorian shrimp exports between January and May 2017 hit the 167,155 metric tons mark, up 14% year-on-year. In June, exports increased to about 39,008t, up 21% y-o-y, as per statistics released by the Ecuadorian chamber of aquaculture.
It is a market that has been attracting the interest of leading fish feed players in recent years.
Earlier this month, Danish group BioMar announced it was investing in a shrimp research center in that country, while in June this year it acquired a controlling interest – 70% - in Ecuadorian feed company Alimentsa. In July, Skretting said it was scaling up its shrimp feed production capacity in the Latin American country – a new 470,000 metric ton plant will be completed by 2019. Cargill is also investing heavily in that shrimp feed market.
Epicore has expertise in manufacturing liquid feed for shrimp larvae and recognized global expertise in the production of probiotics, said Neovia.
Probiotics can help to reduce stress and the mortality rate of shrimp to promote sustainable growth in shrimp ponds, beneficial given the appearance of several diseases such as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) and White Spot Syndrome Virus in shrimp producing regions in recent years, said the French firm, adding that, in response to such health challenges, shrimp farmers have had to adapt their production model and adopt new measures to control their ponds more effectively from water quality control, to biosecurity, to better quality larvae, as well as the use of probiotics.
The Epicore acquisition, said Neovia, will also allow it to accelerate its growth in the Asian shrimp industry, where four out of the world's top five shrimp producing countries are located - China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
Meanwhile in September, the French group announced it was in the process of acquiring a new factory located in the Binh Dinh province in central Vietnam, and it also greenlighted several other investment projects in that South East Asian country.
Neovia said the new production site would help it increase its feed manufacturing capacities by 50,000 tons per year and consolidate its position in Vietnam’s central region.
The French business has had operations in that country for over 20 years; it currently owns five production sites, two research centers, six logistics platforms, two technical centers, and one analysis laboratory in Vietnam. Its operations there cover complete feed production, aquaculture, and pet food.
In addition to the plant acquisition, Neovia said it is building a new factory in Ha Nam, creating a new production line at its Dong Thap facility, and expanding its storage capacities in Binh Duong.