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Uoichi's September Market Forecast: Frozen Snow Crab Price Reduces by \200

August 7, 2009

Uoichi announced market trends for the month of September: the forecasts of main frozen commodities are as follows:

[Frozen Salmon/Trout] The marketing situation of Chilean farmed coho salmon is not favorable; the future inventory quantity of the fish is projected to be low, and therefore the market rate will stay high, showing a bullish move. The same case is true of Chilean trout; though there are not that many offers from local companies and prices are high, the going rate will remain flat. Prior to a season, wild Bristol sockeye salmon was predicted to be low in catch; despite the projection, there was an unexpectedly favorable catch. Compared to the previous year, the market rates for sizes 2/4 and 4/6 were \50/kg cheaper. The future rates may stay horizontal or move slightly bullishly.

Bullish Move of Large Size Farmed Black Tiger Shrimp

[Frozen Shrimp] The overall arrival amount of cultured black tiger shrimp will be low; large sizes, 8/12, 13/15, and 16/20 in particular, will show a bullish move in the market. Shrimp from India is mostly below 26/30, not that many large sizes in sight. Shrimp from Vietnam and Indonesia are popular among purchasers from the US and EU, causing the prices to shoot up. Vannamei (whiteleg shrimp) harvest is going well, thanks to aggressive production practices by producers. An arrival quantity of boat frozen wild shrimp to Japan is lessening due to a price disparity with a farmed kind.

[Frozen Snow Crab] Canadian boiled snow crab began to arrive. The arrival quantity decreased from last year; 1,200 tons of cooked whole crab and 1,000 tons of sectioned crab. Price-wise, it is moving about \200 cheaper than last year. The prices of Russian snow crab are also staying low. Part of high grade commodities is favorably moving; however, a great deal of crab with little meat is sitting in warehouses, leading to the continuation of sluggish move of goods as a whole.

The original article was published on August 7, 2009and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

September Market Forecast Indicates High Chum Salmon Price

August 6, 2009

Uoichi announced market trends for the month of September: the forecasts of main fresh fish and dried-salted products are as follows:

[Fresh Fish] A majority of chum salmon will come from Nemuro and Notsuke, Hokkaido, as well as the coast of the Okhotsk. Each fishing ground will be opened anytime late August. As more catch comes in, salted salmon roe and milt will also begin to hit the market. It is projected that the amount of goods arrival will decline and that the market rate will resultantly move bullishly. The forecast of a chum salmon migration quantity to Hokkaido by the Hokkaido Fish Hatchery is approx. 25.15 million, a 35 percent decrease from the last year's number, 38.72 million. The migration amount will come short of the previous year two years in a row.

Sagittated calamari, mainly sizes 25 and 30, is arriving as of the beginning of August; in September, mostly size 20 will come in. Currently, on the Pacific side of Aomori Prefecture, a catch amount of daytime squid (daytime operation) is smoothly on the rise. The arrival amount will be slightly low and its going rate will show a bullish move.

[Dried-Salted Products] As for seared bonito, during August and September, a bonito purse seine fishing ban in the Southern part of the Northern Pacific will be effective for the first time. With a sufficient amount of 1.8kg+ and 2.5kg+ sizes of domestic bonito in stock, there will no price change until late September. Migratory bonito fishing from late July reports a fewer amount of catch than usual as of now. However, the fishing will continue on, leading to a prediction that the market rate of bonito will remain unchanged.

As to salmon roe and salted salmon roe, the Hokkaido Fish Hatchery announced the forecast early July that Hokkaido chum salmon for this year would be 35 percent less than the pervious year. A bumper catch of chum salmon was enjoyed two years ago; however, the last year suffered a 15 percent reduction. This year's prediction is about a half of the amount two years back. The size of the fish tends to be smaller. As of late July, there are no inquires about seasoned and salted kinds in Alaska, making it difficult to make a prediction. Though the amount of domestic catch will go low, there are abundant inventories of the fish at various parts of Japan. Considering the fact that not that many inquires about imported chum salmon from Europe, it can be said that the fish will be transacted at reasonable prices first this year.

The original article was published on August 6, 2009and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan Develops New Category with "Hoki"

August 6, 2009

Nippon Suisan announced its 67 products of the autumn-winter collection, including 18 renewal items, on August 5. Harnessing the company's strength to access marine resources, a product lineup, which used hoki believed to have a rich flavor three times stronger than that of Alaska Pollack, was created. "Sakana de One Dish" will be released for a fish section: this is a hoki dish that can be easily prepared with just vegetables and a skillet. For a frozen section, "Chikyu no Gochiso: Shiromi Sakana Karaage" (The Earth's Delicacy: Fried White Fish) for household use, and for commercial (school lunch) "Hoki Fry" seasoned only with salt (no MSG added) will be marketed. Tartar sauce for "Chikyu no Gochiso: Shiromi Sakana no Tartar Sauce" was developed with the help of Kewpie Co.

The key concepts of the new lineup are "dine-in" and "health." In the category of frozen prepared foods, "Mojiko Hotel Kanshu Yaki Curry" (Grilled Curry Supervised by Mojiko Hotel), with which consumers can enjoy famous cuisine at home, will be available. In room temperature foods, beef curry (mild or spicy) was generated in collaboration with a noted chocolate company in Hokkaido, ROYCE. Additionally, following a seasoned rice series, an employee dish of a well-known ramen noodle shop, Santouka, a new product, "Sakana Ichiba no Shokudo Makanaimeshi: Ikasumi Tomato Aji" (Employee Dish at Fish Market Restaurant: Squid Ink in Tomato flavor) was created under supervision of Donan Shokudo, located in Hakodate, Hokkaido.

Fish Sausage Acknowledged as Special Health Diet Food

The company aims to expand sales of a fish sausage product, "Eco-clip: Osakana no Sausage" (Eco-clip: Fish Sausage) as a new product of special health diet food (calcium). "Mekku-tape," a method that requires no knife to open, was used for the product. Kneaded fish/fish sausage products, an "Umi no Genki" (Ocean's Energy) series, are now fortified with high grade EPA (300 to 600mg) and DHA (130 to 260 mg), extracted with the company's own distinctive separation and refinement techniques.

Figure 1: Sakana de One Dish

With a hot-pot season nearing, three Chinese soup products (a soup kit with fish balls and crab flavored flakes), and oden soup (Kanto or Kansai flavor) with collagen will be put on the market.

At a press meeting on the same day, Director Managing Executive Officer Kunihiko Koike explained about the first quarter financial results for this fiscal year; and also Director Senior Managing Executive Officer (Headquarters Chief of Business Promotion) Norio Hosomi spoke about a new management system that started in April. Executive Officer (Fishery Operation) Kenjiro Fujimoto reported on the efforts of Marine Products Business as well as a reason for the product development of "Sakana de One Dish." Managing Executive Officer (Foods Business) Susumu Kaneda delineated the new products.

The original article was published on August 6, 2009and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Nippon Suisan's 1Q Indicates Tremendously Improved Profit

August 5, 2009

Nippon Suisan announced its financial score card for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2010. Sales contracted 6.4 percent year over year to \120.9 billion; however, operating earnings recorded an 136 percent increase to \1.469 billion and ordinary profit also rose to \1.326 billion with a 68.8 percent growth. Net income marked \648 million, a big turnaround from a net loss of \334 million last year.

Marine Products Business Reports \1.1B Operating Loss

Marine Products Business' sales came to \42.2 billion, or \9.386 billion less than the corresponding quarter last year; and an operating loss of \1.151 billion was registered, which was \1.179 billion less than last year. Though Kyowa Suisan became a consolidated subsidiary, declines in the transaction amounts of surimi, crab, salmon/trout, and cod roe caused price plunges. There was a loss on revaluation of inventories, as well.

Processed Foods Business reported its sales of \67.1 billion, an increase of \920 million, and operating earnings of \1.45 billion, a \1.61 billion rise. Frozen and room temperature foods, fish sausage, and kneaded fish products grew their sales with the help of lower material prices. Frozen prepared foods for household use in North America also swelled.

In General Distribution Business, despite sluggish movement of goods in cold refrigerators, efficient business management resulted in sale of \2.89 billion, an increase of \212 million, and operating income of \464 million, another increase of \27 million.

With steady pharmaceutical and health foods operations, Fine Chemicals Business registered sales of \5.85 billion, or a \514 million rise, and operating earnings of \1.337 billion, up \284 million.

By area, Japan reported sales of \95.9 billion (down \3.731 billion) and operating earnings of \2.55 billion (down \156 million). North America recorded a \18.1 billion sales (a 1.86 billion decline) and a \478 million operating loss (an \827 million decrease).

The area of South America presented sales of \1.874, or a decline of \496 million, and operating earnings of \497 million, or an increase of \1.828 billion, which was possible by an effort of Salmones Antartica in Chile for management improvement.

In Asia, shrimp aquaculture in Indonesia encountered an unfavorable business environment; however, production quantities in foods operation by Shandong Sanfod Nissui, Ltd increased, leading to sales of \1.066 billion (down \729 million) and operating loss of \231 million (a decline of \183 million operating loss).

Stagnating consumer spending created a reduction in sales volume in Europe, ending in \3.98 billion sales (down 1.448 billion) and a \64 million operating loss (down \260 million).

The original article was published on August 5, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Tosakatsuo Suisan's MSC Assessment Goes Smoothly

August 5, 2009

Brine First Class (B-1) skipjack of far seas pole and line skipjack tuna by Tosakatsuo Suisan Fishery (managed by President Hiroyuki Myojin) is under full assessment of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. The assessment has now reached the final committee review phase towards the completion of the assessment process sometime this month.

After the delivery of the certification, bonito products with a full right to bear the MSC eco-label will be sold in markets. In cases where Tosakatsuo Suisan is not involved in business transactions, distribution organizations involved must obtain the COC certification; otherwise, it is not allowed to attach the MSC eco-label to the products.

The original article was published on August 5, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Kinki Univ. Succeeds in Seedling Production of Southern Bluefin Tuna

August 5, 2009

Kinki University Fisheries Research Center pulled off an unprecedented case of the seedling production of Southern bluefin tuna in collaboration with Clean Seas Tuna Ltd., an aquaculture company in Port Lincoln, Australia.

The two parties signed an academic contract in September 2008. With field supervision by research staff from Kinki Univ. at facilities of Clean Seas Tuna Ltd., beginning in February this year, egg collection and artificial incubation were conducted and as of July 24, about 40 juveniles have grown to weigh approx. 250g.

The original article was published on August 5, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

Maruha Nichiro Holdings' 1Q: Seafood Business Reports Operating Loss

August 4, 2009

Maruha Nichiro Holdings announced business results for the first quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2010 as follows: sales of \200.8 billion, down 12.1 percent year over year; operating profit of \2.051 billion, a 66.3 percent decline; and ordinary earnings of \2.08 billion, another 66.3 percent drop. Though there was a special gain of \760 million from the liquidation of a consolidated subsidiary, Madagascar Suisan, the net income for the first quarter fell 12.4 percent to \1.888 billion.

Prolonged operation of Alaskan Pollack in North America Negatively Affects Results

Fishery Operations suffered slumping market prices, stemming from the blunting freight movement as a result of a consumer spending freeze. Consequently, both sales and profits were reduced. Sales came to \124.2 billion, a 17 percent contraction from the same period last year, and an operating loss of \500 million was registered.

North America Operation Unit experienced increases in production costs due to the prolonged operations of Alaskan pollack and suffered a 50 percent cut in sales because of delayed selling. There were profit increases from shrimp and scallop in Marine Products Tradings Unit; however, tuna for sashimi encountered a tough fight. Marine Products Wholesaling Unit attempted to strengthen its competitive edge with the consolidation of the Kyushu area; nevertheless, a reduction in transaction amounts and an increase in inventory resulted in losses in revenues and profit. Strategic Sales Unit suffered revenue losses, dealing with lower prices; however, its effort to improve business operations with deficits finished in profit gains.

Food Operations reported sales of \70.4 billion, down 2.2 percentage points, and operating earnings of \3.273 billion, or a 46.8 percent rise. In the midst of slumping consumer spending, lower raw material prices and cost reductions contributed to profit growth. Some of the spring new releases for household use, such as "Akebono Hana Chow Mein," are performing well. Fish sausage and chikuwa are facing a price war; jelly products, on the other hand, are going well.

Storage/Logistics Operation also had to face the effect of stagnating consumer spending; but the company focused on livestock and frozen foods products, leading to a 3.7 percent sales rise, \3.807 billion, and operating income of \264 million, up 33.3 percent.

The original article was published on August 4, 2009 and was translated by Kiyo Hayasaka.

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