The Bangkok-headquartered Thai Union Group’s first quarter net profit jumped 77% to THB 1.8 billion, fueled by solid performances from its frozen seafood, pet food and value-added business divisions.
Even as the coronavirus pandemic (SARS-CoV-2) continued globally, sales held steady with a 0.1% increase to THB 31.1 billion compared to the first quarter of 2020. The strong net profit was buoyed by a resurgence in the company’s frozen operations. Prudent cost management and foreign exchange gains also figured positively.
“Resilience is absolutely critical during a global pandemic and, throughout this crisis, Thai Union has worked incredibly hard to carefully manage our global business – 15 brands, 14 production locations and 10 corporate offices in 16 countries around the world,” said CEO Thiraphong Chansiri. “Our ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to the rapidly evolving situation has been a key to our business – not just to continue remaining healthy, but to also grow. This has created awareness and trust among our staff, clients and customers that we have the capability and willingness to continue serving them in any situation.”
During Q1 the frozen and chilled seafood business rebounded, increasing 10.3% year-on-year to hit THB 12.1 billion in sales. A particularly strong performance took place in the United States, Thai Union’s largest market, where activity in foodservice sector improved substantially.
PetCare, value-added and others business were also major contributors during the quarter, with sales up 20.8% year-on-year to THB 5.5 billion. Although the ambient seafood business reported a 13.1% decline in sales to THB 13.6 billion compared to the unusual first quarter of 2020 when people stocked up on canned food at the beginning of Covid-19 health crisis, Q1 2021 ambient seafood sales showed an increase of 0.9% compared to the pre-Covid Q1 2019 period.
OMG Meat Launches in Home Market
As part of its commitment to Healthy Living and Healthy Oceans, Thai Union continued to focus on innovation, a key driver of the business. In the first quarter the company launched alternative protein products like OMG Meat in Thailand’s retail market, as well as ingredients from tuna co-products such as Unibone tuna bone powder.
OMG Meat was developed by Thai Union’s Global Innovation Center with the aim of creating a plant-based protein that tastes and smells like animal meat. A number of food offerings are now available for consumers to choose from, including dim sum, crab dumpling, crab meat, red-pork bun, fish nuggets and chicken nuggets.
The company also announced a pioneering commitment to full supply chain transparency through its partnership with The Nature Conservancy, a core component of its efforts to address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing practices. Furthermore, Thai Union is taking part in the Ocean Disclosure Project, a global platform where seafood businesses publicly share details on the sourcing of their raw material, as part of its commitment to transparency.
Thai Union also closed its inaugural Sustainability-Linked Syndicated Loan (SLL) in both Thailand and Japan earlier this year, another step forward in financing projects that benefit the oceans.
During the quarter, Thai Union continued its activities in the food tech sector and announced an investment in BlueNalu Inc. through its venture fund. San Diego, California-based BlueNalu is one of the world’s leading cell-based seafood companies, utilizing innovative means to produce premium products directly from the cells of fish.
The company also continued to focus on helping communities impacted by the ongoing devastation of Covid-19 through product donations during the quarter.