Seawork drives job-creation

05 March 2019 | Fishing

Seawork Fish Processors (Pty) Ltd (Seawork) is based in Walvis Bay, Namibia, specialising in the catching, value-adding and marketing of seafood products for local and international markets.

With over 1 700 employees, the Seawork Group has been punching above its weight class in an effort to create more jobs in the fishing sector. The Seawork Group is momentarily the largest employer, per quota ton available, in the Namibian hake industry.

The company will remain steadfast in maximising job-creation over time. Based on quota contributed by the right-holding shareholders, the group employs over 121 employees for every 1 000 tons of quota. Two-thirds of its workforce is made up of female workers. All employees participate in the Seawork Employee Incentive Scheme which was implemented during the 2017 financial year. The bonus is based on 10% of the annual dividend declaration.

“Seawork has developed into a fishing operation with a strong workforce in excess of 1 700 employees, an asset base of N$750 million and group profits generated of over N$120 million year-on-year. The previous audited financial statements reflect a contribution to the Namibian fiscus of N$55.7 million in the form of corporate taxes,” the company said.

As a proudly Namibian widely-owned private company, Seawork does not own any fishing rights but has entered into business ventures with a number of hake harvesting right-holders that have invested in and are shareholders of the company. These shareholders include Mbashe Fishing (Pty) Ltd (6%), Escalate Investments (Pty) Ltd (5%), Green Rose Trading (Pty) Ltd (5%) and Omaru Fishing (Pty) Ltd (5%), which have contributed significantly to the success of the group over the past two years.

Fleet and catching

The Seawork fleet is valued at over N$168 million and consists of four European Union-compliant wet fish trawlers - the Villa de Hio, Ocean Tide, Ocean Wave and Wiron 5. The fifth vessel, the Ocean Victory, is currently undergoing a complete refit and is expected to be commissioned in the current fishing season. Seawork said “this project, like all previous vessel refits, is being undertaken by in-house engineering services, hence providing much-needed skilled employment opportunities for Namibians”.

“Additional vessels are chartered when available, in order to ensure the continuous supply of hake to the processing plant. The capacity of the Seawork processing factory far exceeds the supply of fish available to it from existing catches.” The vessels apply the bottom otter trawl method. All fish are headed and gutted at sea and landed on ice in 28kg bins. “The carrying capacity of the vessels range from 95 to 180 tons of H&G hake. The average landings per trip range from 80 to 95 tons. The landings are capped at this relatively low level in an attempt to manage the quota of 14 000 metric tons made available to Seawork over a full fishing season.”

Processing

Seawork processes not only fish landed by in-house vessels, but also any headed and gutted hake, either frozen or wet, which are made available in the local and South African market. This additional fish is acquired because of excess capacities in the production facilities and the high demand for products by customers both locally and internationally. “During the preceding season, Seawork imported over 2 100 metric tonnes of frozen headed and gutted fish. These imports were all value-added in the factories, creating over 429 000 man-hours of much-needed work for Namibians.”

The two production facilities, supplied by the trawlers operating at full capacity, guarantee customers a continuous source of high-quality, wild-caught hake and other seafood products, while creating many more employment opportunities for Namibians. The current limit of 14 000 metric tons of available quota, of which a proportion is made available to Seawork by its business partners and co-shareholders, restricts the fleet from operating at its full catching capacity. “Seawork is unique in the sense that all fish is hand-scaled, hand-filleted and value-added, to maximise both employment and the quality of products. This generates favourable growth in the market and ever-increasing returns for the Namibian economy.”

Marketing

The Seawork group exports its locally caught and processed products globally. This is achieved in conjunction with smart-partners All-Fish Handelsgesellschaft GmbH, situated in Germany, Inlet Seafish in Spain and Seawork Australia. These companies in turn further distribute the fish to numerous smaller customers. This helps shorten the distance between the seafood source and the final client.

Local sales

Hake and other fish-related product sales to Namibians represent 11% of turnover and 16% of total production in kilograms. The group owns two retail outlets in Namibia, selling locally produced products in Walvis Bay and Windhoek. In addition to this, the outlets also import various international seafood products to sell to Namibians at affordable prices. These products are also sold to restaurants, hotels and lodges throughout the country.

Investments

In the financial year ended 31 October 2017, Seawork invested N$149 million and N$15 million for the acquisition of the Benguella Group of companies and Supa Marine Paints (Pty) Ltd respectively. During the prior three fishing seasons, Seawork and its affiliates have also invested over N$250 million for the expansion, refurbishment and replacement of property and equipment, both for its fleet and onshore production facilities.

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