Neovia, a global feed group based in France, announced Dec. 20 the acquisition of 100% interest in Epicore, a North American company specializing in the manufacture of larval feed and probiotics in the global aquaculture market -- more specifically for shrimp.
Through the complementary expertise of the two companies and Neovia’s international research and development (R&D) network, Neovia said it intends to develop its aquaculture business and offer new natural and sustainable solutions for livestock farming: probiotics.
Epicore manufactures feed and probiotics for the shrimp market and currently employs more than 35 people. Founded in 1987, the company’s headquarters and its production facility are located in Eastampton, N.J. Epicore has storage space and a key technical center within a subsidiary in Ecuador, which facilitates the distribution of its products and services in the largest shrimp-producing country in the Americas and the fourth-largest producer in the world, with output of 400,000 metric tons of shrimp feed per year.
According to Neovia, Epicore has a leading expertise in manufacturing liquid feed for shrimp larvae and recognized global expertise in the production of probiotics, which are living microorganisms that are naturally present in the body. Probiotics help balance intestinal flora and stimulate immune defenses. These natural solutions help reduce stress and mortality rates of shrimp to promote sustainable growth in shrimp ponds.
With estimated global production of 3.6 mt, the shrimp market has been growing steadily for more than a decade, Neovia said. However, in recent years, the market has slowed or even stagnated in some countries due to the appearance of several diseases, such as early mortality syndrome and white spot syndrome virus.
In response to these major health challenges, shrimp farmers have had to adapt their production model and adopt new measures to control their ponds more effectively, such as water quality control, biosecurity and the use of better-quality larvae and probiotics.
As a result, Neovia's acquisition of Epicore will bring leading-edge expertise in probiotics fully in line with its holistic approach to aquaculture, which ranges from feed to pond management. This holistic approach is a guarantee of sustainable medium-term market growth, Neovia said.
This acquisition will allow the two companies to benefit from numerous synergies worldwide, particularly with regard to R&D and innovation. Neovia's aquaculture business will also benefit from an expanded portfolio of products and services as well as new expertise in the production of probiotics first for aquaculture species and then for the group's other species, the announcement said.
Epicore chief executive officer William Long said, "We are delighted to be able to share our expertise in probiotics with a large international group like Neovia. The strength of its R&D expertise and its international innovation network will allow us to develop new applications for the international aquaculture market and other markets together."
Asia is one of Neovia's main development areas, and aquaculture is one of its priority businesses, the company pointed out. With Epicore, the group has additional resources to accelerate its growth in the Asian shrimp industry. Four out of the world's top-five shrimp-producing countries are located in this region: China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Neovia CEO Hubert de Roquefeuil added, "With the acquisition of Epicore, Neovia's aquaculture business will achieve its critical size to accelerate its international development, especially in Asia, where we can rely on the group's presence and our recognized aquaculture expertise in Latin America (Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico) and Vietnam.
"Epicore has a lot to offer to Neovia, and I am pleased to welcome its teams of experts in probiotics to our company, which will allow us to complement our portfolio of products and services and offer high-performance and sustainable solutions to farmers all over the world," de Roquefeuil said.
Neovia has a turnover of 1.7 billion euros achieved in seven business lines: complete feed, aquaculture, pet care, premix/ firm services, additives and ingredients, animal health and testing laboratories. It has 75 production sites and 8,300 employees in 28 countries.