Founded in 1869, is one of the main food brands in Spain, specialising in the production and marketing of canned seafood and prepared meals.

Over the course of its more than 150 years of history, it has gone from being a basic anchovy processing site in Santoña to establishing what was the largest canning factory in Europe in the port of Vigo. In 2016, the Chinese Group Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International acquired 100% of the Galician canner for 61 million euros, thus taking a huge leap onto the Asian continent.

This has been a smooth transition that has allowed us to improve our results and reach new markets. In 2019, the ALBO 4.0 project was launched, the aim of which is to develop digital technologies for the canning industry of the future. It forms part of the regional government's Priority Initiative Projects, which receive tax concessions.


How important is the company to the Spanish canning industry?

Albo is the only fish canner that has managed to maintain its presence and position of leadership in Spanish supermarkets after more than a century and a half of history. Thanks to the high quality it offers in terms of raw materials and processing, it has created a brand recognised by generations of consumers and other canning firms, with which it has maintained cordial relations over its lifetime. Albo also forms part of the history of the city of Vigo, where it has employed men and women who have proudly worked for the brand, becoming the official supplier of the Vatican and the Spanish Royal Family.


In 2016, Shanghai Kaichuang Marine International acquired 100% of Conservas Albo shares. What are the main changes that have taken place at the canner since then?

Accessing the Chinese market has undoubtedly been one of the major milestones for the company, as it now has the support of a giant in the food industry, the SK Group, which has opened many doors. Another major advantage is the synergy with the Group's large fishing fleet, facilitating vertical backward integration and further control of the entire process. At a more executive level, efforts have been made to optimise costs and modernise a number of administrative processes. However,  the biggest change will undoubtedly come in 2022, when we are due to open a new factory in Salvaterra de Miño, Pontevedra. The initial budget for the factory is 25 million euros, although this could change as construction progresses. We have a workforce of more than 200 people and a commitment to recruit more than 20 new workers.


What impact will this new unit have on the canner and on the Galician economy?

Albo is the first company that has established a plant in the PLISAN, which represents a boost for the area. This platform was set up more than a decade ago by government agencies in Galicia to house companies that seek logistical efficiency. Spanning  24,764 m2, it will be one of the largest and most modern production plants in the region, allowing Albo to multiply its production and storage capacity, and logistical agility. This new factory means jobs, new technologies and a stimulus for other companies. We can be a magnet for both domestic and foreign investment. We are an example of what can be achieved by a company and its surroundings through foreign investment, and on the flip side, how foreign companies can find real jewels in Spain that represent reliable and profitable investments.


The company's results have improved significantly following the buyout by the Chinese giant. What is the forecast for the coming years?

We have lots of decisions to make. Major efforts will be required to face the new challenges posed by the new factory, although we are very enthusiastic about being more efficient, competitive and flexible than we are at the moment. 


How has the merger gone in terms of  the two countries' business cultures?

The merger has been beneficial for both parties, we have all made efforts to understand the differences between us and offer knowledge and our points of view. In the first year, a group of Albo workers were taken to China to  welcome them to the Group. Then, the major Chinese shareholders travelled to Vigo and Madrid to find out more about everything in detail.


In terms of the mechanics of how we can fish and knowledge of the market, we obviously have a lot to contribute after 150 years of canning tradition. This has helped to revitalise and optimise the company, providing a limitless vision of the future for Albo.


What new markets do you have in sight?

We will focus mainly on European markets, given their stability and the predictability this provides. However, we are now turning our sights to Arab markets and continuing to make progress in Africa and America.


What are the main markets you export to?

We export to more than 30 countries on the 5 continents. In Switzerland, for example, we recently celebrated our 100th birthday, and Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are both major fans of ours.