West Australian seafood company Catalano’s Seafood (ASX:CSF) has gone from a Cannington fish and chip shop in the 1960s to a national wholesaler and retailer.

The company IPOd at $5m at $0.20 per share and it listed on the ASX on Friday – with big plans to expand its national supply footprint.

CEO Nick Catalano told Stockhead the capital will assist in rolling out the company’s Seafood Management System in supermarkets.

“Seafood is a very very popular food product that is consumed by at least 80% of the community in Australia, and spending was around $1 billion at retail level over 2019-2021,” he said.

“And he consumption of seafood now has risen to about 27.5 kilos per person.”

“What we are offering now with this new concept of taking seafood to a retail level, with IGA’s having over 2000 supermarkets across Australia, and we see it as a great opportunity for investors to invest in a product that is in great demand.”


Retail growth oppor-tuna-tey (sorry)

The retail plan is all about solving a seafood problem for the independent supermarkets.

“What we have learned over a period of time is that the IGA group and all the independent supermarkets, they can’t actually compete with Coles or Woolworths,” Catalano said.

“So, what we have done over the last few years is come up with a concept that enables them to carry the seafood range in the independent supermarket without actually lifting a finger. “We call it the seafood category management solution; we provide them with fresh and frozen packaged seafood – our Catalano brand in a corner of their supermarket.

“It’s a turnkey service where, if need be, we can actually install specialized refrigeration.

“We have actually established the concept very well over the last few years, but we’re now changing the style and gearing up to roll out across more supermarkets.”


Processing improvements swimming along nicely

Catalano currently has a processing facility in Bassendean – one of only a handful of toll processing facilities in the country – and the funds raised will also go to upgrading processing this equipment.

“One of our other areas of business, is what we call toll processing, or contract processing for major fishing companies, the likes of Austral Fisheries and MG Kailis Group,” Catalano said.

“We provide them a processing division and assist them with R&D and the development of the product.

“With Austral Fisheries we’ve been working with the toothfish for the last four or five years and they’re able now to land their toothfish into a restaurant or even export it in retail form.

“So, with the funding, we’re able to further develop our processing, buy new equipment like portioning machines, scaling machines, and new technology like CO2 cryogenic freezing.

“There are several other areas of improvement that we can actually make to improve the presentation of the product and also our retail product.”

The company’s share price was down 10% at the end of trading on Friday, at $0.18 per share.