Ocean Quality didn’t cut corners for Chinese premium: chairman

Ole Alexander Saue

The price of salmon in China has for 10 weeks been 12-percent higher per-kilogram than the world average. Grieg Seafood business, Ocean Quality, maintains no financial gains were made on that price premium when two of its employees fooled food-health inspectors and shipped previously diseased fish to China.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was learned that Ocean Quality was suspending the two employees accused of misusing documents issued by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority for exports to China.

“Judging by what we know today, nether the company nor those involved have earned financially on the false information,” Ocean Quality said in a statement.

Read Ocean Quality suspends staff for misuse of export docs 

A SalmonBusiness review based on growth statistics available at the Norwegian Seafood Council shows that the price of salmon exported to China was EUR 0.72 per kilogram — or 12 percent higher — than the average for all other salmon markets. Price quotes were based on salmon delivered to the Norwegian border.

The last 10 weeks of Chinese prices (red) versus the market average (in kroner)

A “tragedy”
Confronted by the price difference between China and other markets on Wednesday morning, Ocean Quality chairman, Oyvind Fossoy, said this: “I can with certainty declare that there was no financial gain on this. It’s a tragedy for the company.

“I don’t know the reference you’re making to those (7 euro). We have no extra margin on China in relation to other markets. My clear (point) is that there is no extra margin for China in relation to surrounding markets. Surrounding markets have actually had better margins.”

Not speculating
In an email to SalmonBusiness, Fossoy said this: “When it comes to your math, the biggest margins for error are in the numbers of fish that are sent, contracted shares and quality grades. This is not taken into consideration in the (free-onboard) prices you have compared.

“As you know, only large fish of superior quality go to Asia. If follows that the numbers on averages are not comparable. One can only compare prices on superior salmon to Asia with superior salmon of the same size sent to other markets.”

Do you have any idea how this might have happened, since financial gain has entered the picture?

“We can’t speculate. We only know that it was two young people — lower down in the organization, who work on exports — who have carried out these misdeeds. As we understand it, we don’t believe they completely understood all the consequences of what had happened. They’re very sad, and they’re getting professional help. We are really sorry that this has happened.”

“We have sharpened our routines and doubled our controls so this does not happen again,” Fossoy said.

Might this have happened before?

“We have no indication of that. This has gone on for a short period of a few weeks,” he said.


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