Siam Canadian’s Gulkin plans to emulate Asian model in Latin America: Nov 04, 2019
Siam Canadian’s Jim Gulkin plans to apply the business model that has created a $300 million-turnover Asian seafood group to Latin America, having made his first hire in the continent.
Gulkin has added Frenchmen Matthieu Bourdeaux, a seafood sector veteran based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to his team as his general manager for South America, he told Undercurrent News.
Bourdeaux has already done his first deal, selling 25 containers of hake fillets from Argentina to Brazil, he told Undercurrent.
The model will be to sell raw material from Latin America – such as tuna, wild and farmed shrimp, and whitefish – to Asia, said Gulkin. Then, Bourdeaux will be selling products within the continent as well as seafood from Asia.
“We plan to hire more people and expand the business as we have in Asia”, said Gulkin, a Canadian who started up in Bangkok, Thailand and now has offices in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Myanmar, as well as a meat division in Poland and now Bourdeaux in Argentina.
Although Bourdeaux has strong links in the fish side of the business, Gulkin said red shrimp from Argentina and farmed vannamei from Ecuador are likely to be key products for export to Asia.
Bourdeaux has 20 years in seafood and 10 in Argentina. He worked as the seafood buyer for French retailer E.Leclerc, then moved to Argentina and worked for various companies.
As for where next in Latin America, Bourdeaux said Brazil is likely the first place the company will hire on the market side, but Columbia, Peru and Chile are also all interesting.
The hiring of Bourdeaux is a “tremendous opportunity”, said Gulkin.
Siam Canadian’s sales are likely to be steady at around $310m in 2019, with volume up 6-8%, but average prices down, driven by shrimp.