At the end of September, Alimentos Españoles Alsat announced it had invested EUR 2.3 million in the acquisition of three plots of land adjoining its main installations in the Don Benito region.
In total, the land that has been acquired covers a surface of 20 000 m², which should allow Alsat to make full use of its current industrial capacity, which stands at 200 000 tonnes of tomatoes per season. And, in the midterm, the company should have no trouble extending its installations.
The newly acquired land is made up of three separate plots. The first of these covers approximately 4 000 m² and already features a modern industrial warehouse as well as office space, which is likely to be hosting at least part of the parent company's offices, possibly even the entirety of a specific department. Another piece of land, also covering approximately 4 000 m², includes two constructions, one of which is relatively old. Finally, the remaining 12 000 m² are unbuilt land dedicated to industrial use, currently used as space for parking and organizing the traffic of trucks and tractors that deliver raw materials to the factory. Similarly, adjoining buildings are being used as warehouses for storing finished products and auxiliary equipment and materials. Finally, this expansion should very soon allow Alsat to make use of the full industrial capacity of its installations, which now cover 80 000 m².
Pol. Ind. Isaac Peral, Calle Isaac Peral, 06400 Don Benito, Badajoz, Spain
Alsat has therefore pursued its positioning with a view on future developments. In 2016, the company had already taken a major leap forward in this process by launching the production of tomato "pulpa", a new category for Alsat. To date, the company has reported a positive evaluation of its business in this new category and, after the 2016 season (which was not a full season) led to the production of approximately 5 000 tonnes of pulpa, the 2017 season will end with a volume of 10 200 tonnes, almost exclusively intended for the export market.
According to the operator, entering this new market has absorbed almost all of the EUR 4.4 million invested last year, notably for the installation of a new high energy-efficiency concentrator (mechanical recompression of steam). This equipment has been specially intended for manufacturing low Brix products, with low soluble solids contents, mainly used in preparing chopped tomatoes and pulpas. With these investments, Alsat has "considerably increased its flexibility, its competitiveness and its energy efficiency," explained one of the company executives.
During the 2017 season, which ended around 24 September, Alsat processed approximately 155 000 tonnes of tomatoes, for an industrial production of 20 000 tonnes of paste (intended for manufacturing sauces and ketchup), 22 000 tonnes of diced tomatoes (for manufacturing prepared dishes) and 10 200 tonnes of pulpa. These figures indicate a clear progression compared to 2016 results, a year that was marked by particularly adverse weather conditions, very low agricultural yields and a drastic reduction in the quantities processed. So last year, Alsat only processed 125 000 tonnes of tomatoes, a sharp drop compared to the 153 000 tonnes processed in 2015.
For the processor, this slowdown in operations, along with the deterioration in worldwide prices for industrially processed tomato products, led to a 12.9% drop in sales results, which fell to EUR 23.7 million last year. In a worldwide industry where operations are considered as cyclical, "prices hit rock bottom, with the collapse of markets in 2017, and we are hoping for a recovery between now and 2019," explained Alsat leaders, 90% of whose production will be shipped to foreign markets.
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