FIMEX VN: Not only seafood

Saoto Foods Joint Stock Company (FIMEX VN) has built a solid reputation over the past 15 years as a prestigious shrimp producer and exporter in Vietnam. 

Gaining a strong foothold in many markets, the company is now targeting a new segment with much wider range of products, i.e. agricultural and mixed products.
Hight value shrimp drive growth
Fimex VN was one of the first companies in Viet Nam to process and export refined shrimp products to Japan and other classy markets.
According to Dr. Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman cum CEO of Fimex, the company was targeting high value products, which has so far accounted for over 80% of the company’s total export volume. Such strategy enables Fimex to meet its clients’ demand for convenient products while making full use of raw materials and creating stable employment for over 2,200 workers.
With state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, Fimex is able to produce 50 tons of end-products per day, including cooked and breaded black tiger/vannamei, sushi, and nobashi; shrimp ring, and marinate skewer shrimp, etc.
Fimex products are now present in many markets such as Japan (45%), the US (31.6%), South Korea, Canada, UK, Germany, and Switzerland, etc. The company has been the country’s largest exporter of shrimp to Japan for years.
Quality improvement and product diversification
From onset, Fimex has made product diversification its highest priority, considering it an important solution that can be leveraged into competitive advantage. Thus, the company has its own product research and development team within the quality management division
Besides product structure innovation, the company’s leaders also pay great attention to quality assurance. Luc always fights against the illegal weigh-gain measurements and calls on the seafood processing community to do the same by boycotting injected shrimp from the day that his company became VASEP’s member and he himself assumed the position as VASEP’s Chairman.
As for antibiotic and chemical residue in shrimp, Luc was particularly relentless. He never accepts contaminated shrimp, even when Fimex fell on hard times due to raw material shortage. He believes that if he and the other businessmen do otherwise, they will risk losing market.
His efforts to maintain food safety and quality have earned him and his company reputation, trust and goodwill of his clients.
Luc believes that shrimp processors do not have to acquire their own farming areas. Surely, it would be wonderful to have one but that means more investment, more expertise, and more efforts to be involved. With limited budget, the processors can still secure raw materials by building strong relationships with the farmers. That is what Fimex does. Besides, the company tries to raise the stocking levels in the peak harvest for later use and base the marketing scheme on the shrimp supply trend.
According to Luc, the shrimp farming would be enhanced in 2011 and the price would be lower as supply is improved. He also forecasted that from this year on, Japanese food distributors will switch outsourcing from China to Viet Nam. Thus, Fimex VN planned to put up a VND10 billion shrimp processing workshop so that it can be ready when the opportunities come. The workshop is expected to come into operation in mid 2011.
The year 2010 was a great success for Fimex. The company’s export value soared by over 40% to US$74 million. Its profit hit VND25 billion, exceeding the year target by 60%.
In 2011, the company expected to earned US$80 million in export sales and over VND30 billion in profit.
New way paved
In 2008, Fimex VN invested US$2.5 million to setup An San agro-product processing plant in An Nghiep, Soc Trang. The idea was conceived long ago but Luc did not have chance to realize it until then since there were so many fluctuations affecting the shrimp business.
The plant is furnished with modern equipment such as IQF freezer, air blast freezer, material washing machine, steamer, boiling line, cutting machine, drying machine, and grilling machine, etc. Its products range from potato, sweet potato, okra, egg- plant, carrot, pumpkin, lotus root to papaya, mango, grapefruit, longan, and pineapple, etc. There are also agro-fishery products such as egg-plant with shrimp paste, shrimp rolled in zucchini, lotus root and shrimp sandwich, etc. All are very fresh and delicate with a twist of Japanese ambiance.
Duong Ngoc Kim, the Vice General Director of Fimex cum An San Director, is a dynamic and capable manager. With extensive experience in the seafood processing industry and now the agro-product processing, she has been and is a wonderful comrade and colleague of Fimex Chairman Ho Quoc Luc.
With the reputation in shrimp processing, Fimex can easily bring its agro-products to such demanding markets as Japan, which now accounts for 90% of the company’s exports, and Korea.
Beside the usual frozen products, the company also offers its clients the nitrogen freezing ones. Since the demand for this high-grade product line is quite high, the company’s Board of Directors is considering the installation of additional liquid Nitrogen freezer. Kim estimated that the company’s nitrogen freezing product volume would likely amount to 2,000 tons.
However, the company also faces stiff competition from other foreign producers, especially those in China, who have the advantage of cheap raw materials since the cultivation there is highly intensive.
To address this issue, An San has widened its network of raw material suppliers and strengthened ties with farmers in Da Lat and Can Tho, etc, providing them with the seed and secure the output.
In 2010, the company’s agro-product sales hit US$2 billion. Kim said by the time the plant assures stable supply of raw materials and has regular clients; An San would boost the production and expand to potential markets such as EU and Middle East.
Source: Vietfish International

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