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Once again, China changes everything

Legend Holdings' Chilean mega-deal will reshape the salmon farming sector.

Less than two weeks ago, Chilean salmon supplier New World Currents President Eduardo Goycoolea and I were discussing a trend that was baffling him.

The company, which targets China with fresh salmon, tracked a 15 percent rise in salmon imports into China in 2018, a number which Goycoolea said he simply couldn't explain.

"I'm shocked," he told me.

It's a trend playing out among salmon suppliers everywhere. As surprising as the rising volume is, it's nothing compared to the shock that hit the industry on Sunday night with the announcement that Chinese giant Legend Holdings, majority shareholder in, among other things, Lenovo computers, would be acquiring Chile's Australis Seafoods for $880 million (€771.7 million).

The deal is the largest in Chilean salmon farming history, and in fact ranks among the largest in the seafood industry.

Though we can debate the valuation (naturally, Chilean salmon farmers were very happy with it), the company's rationale was a sound one, particularly given its strategy.

Pacific Andes, Alibaba subsidiary strike strategic partnership - Pacific Andes平洋恩利与阿里巴巴子公司建立战略合作伙伴关系

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Legend, via agricultural subsidiary Joyvio, has long been an ag investor overseas, including in Chile, where it already owns kiwi and blueberry operations, paving the way for a fresh supply chain.

The question now is how these two trends will intersect. With giants such as Legend and Alibaba looking worldwide for seafood to move through their insatiable supply chains, it may be easier for them to simply vertically integrate than it is to be bothered with negotiations; it's less about price and more about getting the volume.

Top execs: Australis acquisition sets valuation of Chilean salmon companies at the right level

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The Legend deal is a glimpse of the future -- a future where China finally awakens as a seafood investor and begins bending the image to the will of its seemingly endless demand.

Hidden at the bottom of Legend's understated rationale for the acquisition of Australis was an acknowledgement that the deal dovetails nicely with China's "belt and road" initiative -- an ambitious infrastructure project aimed at creating trade routes between China and 70 countries across the world. If you're not acquainted with it, you should be -- it will have a dramatic impact on your business eventually.

The drive for resources, the deep pockets, a world-class logistics network: it adds up to more deals from more buyers.

Sparebank 1 Markets Analyst Tore Tonseth summed it up best to my colleague Anders Furuset: "This is certainly not the last we'll see from China."

Comments? Email drew.cherry@intrafish.com

Twitter: @drewcherry

中国再次改变了一切

联想控股在智利的大手笔交易将会重塑三文鱼养殖行业。但是如何重塑?

不到两周前,我和智利三文鱼供应商新海线的董事长爱德华多·戈伊科雷傲(Eduardo Goycoolea)一起,讨论了正在困扰他的一股趋势。

这家以中国鲜活三文鱼市场为目标的公司注意到,在2018年中国的进口三文鱼增加了15%,对于这一数字,戈伊科雷傲说他完全无法解释。

“我非常震惊。”他对我说。

这股趋势正在各地三文鱼供应商中蔓延。尽管进口量的增长数据已经足够让人吃惊,但与周日晚间中国巨头联想控股发表声明,以8.8亿美元(7.717欧元)收购智利Australis Seafoods一事对行业的巨大冲击相比,可就算不上什么了。联想控股是联想电脑和其他一些企业的大股东。

这将是智利三文鱼养殖史上最大的一笔交易,实际上在水产行业中也是最大的。

尽管我们对于估价会有不同的看法(当然,智利的三文鱼养殖场主对此很满意),但该公司估价依据很充分,特别是鉴于战略方面的考量。

联想通过其子公司佳沃,已成为海外包括智利在内的农业投资者。佳沃在智利早已拥有猕猴桃和蓝莓业务,为创建新的供应链铺平了道路。

现在的问题是这两股趋势如何交汇。像联想和阿里巴巴这样的巨头正在全球范围内寻找水产以供给他们无法满足的供应链,或许对他们来说简单的垂直整合要比费心去谈判容易得多;主要问题不在于价格,而是更多地关注数量。

联想的交易是对未来前景的短暂体验——未来中国会最终觉醒成为海鲜的投资者,以它看似无穷无尽的需求意志颠覆人们对这一行业的固有观念。

联想低调收购Australis的深层背景是这笔交易很好地对接了中国“一带一路”的倡议——一个旨在全球范围内打造中国与70个国家之间贸易线路的雄心勃勃的基础建设项目。如果你对此项目还不熟悉,其实你应该知道——它终将会对你的生意产生巨大影响。

资源的驱动者,雄厚的资金力,世界级的物流网络:这意味着它会使更多的买家达成更多的交易。

Sparebank 1的市场分析师托恩·赛思(Tore Tonseth)对我的同事安德斯·福吕塞(Anders Furuset)做了最好的总结:“我们今后仍将看到更多来自中国企业的收购案例。”

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