Parlevliet & Van der Plas (P&P), one of the world’s biggest fishing and fish processing companies, recently took over German salmon producer and seafood company Deutsche See. The acquisition was a logical next step in the company’s vertical integration strategy.
In 1949, three young men from the fishing village of Katwijk, The Netherlands, founded a company. They bought herring at several Dutch auctions and sold it at the local markets. The young men, Dirk Parlevliet, and his friends, brothers Jan and Dirk van der Plas, were good at what they did. Their business grew rapidly and within a few years they were involved in the export of fish to neighbouring countries Germany, Belgium and France.
Moving into Germany
In 1959, Parlevliet & Van der Plas bought its first fishing vessel, the pelagic trawler Jan Maria. This was the start of the company as it is now. In 1967, the first freezer-trawler was acquired. In the year 1986, the company moved into demersal fishing and founded a subsidiary company in Germany: Doggerbank Seefischerei in Bremerhaven.
Germany turned out to be an attractive market for P&P. In 1998, the company added Mecklenburger Hochseefischerei (MHF), located in Rostock, to its portfolio. A year later, German Seafrozen Fish (GSF) was founded. GSF is responsible for the worldwide marketing of Parlevliet & Van der Plas’ groundfish product range.
Parlevliet & Van der Plas made one of the largest purchases in its history in 2003, with the commission of one of the most technologically advanced fish processing plants in the world: Euro-Baltic Fisch Verarbeitungs in Rugen, Germany. Euro-Baltic is one of the largest fish-processing companies in Europe, annually processing 50,000 tonnes of herring. The German subsidiary of PP has three hundred employees and, together with the ships sailing under the German flag, PP provides approximately 700 jobs in Germany.
7700 employees worldwide
The latest German acquisition took place only weeks ago, when P&P took over Deutsche See. “We are very proud of this acquisition,” says current CEO Diek Parlevliet, son of founder Dirk Parlevliet. “Deutsche See is a healthy company with a turnover of 400 million and 1700 employees. All together, we now have 7700 employees worldwide. ”
Parlevliet recalls the long relationship between his own company and Deutsche See. “Our fathers have been supplying Deutsche See and other German companies for a long time.”
Parlevliet & Van der Plas was approached just before Christmas by Deutsche See, that was looking for a new owner due to serious health problems of one of its owners, Egbert Miebach. Diek Parlevliet: “After that initial talk everything went very fast. The management of Deutsche See thought we were the best candidate to take over, in the interest of the employees. We regard this as a great compliment. We have a long history with Deutsche See: we have been their supplier for fifty years.”
The urgency of the situation was eminent at Fish International in Bremen, where the interview with Diek Parlevliet took place. During the event, at the end of February, the passing away of Egbert Miebach was announced.
In 2009, P&P took over Ouwehand, one of the oldest Dutch herring processors. In a press release P&P announced that its new strategy was based on vertical integration. “We want to control the entire chain: from catching and processing fish to selling it to the consumer market.”
In 2014, it had acquired Dutch shrimp company Heiploeg, Europe’s biggest shrimps supplier and processor. Last year Heiploeg’s new CEO, Dirk-Jan Parlevliet, son of Diek Parlevliet, announced a considerable expansion of the company.
The acquisition of Deutsche See was a logical next step, after the acquisition of Ouwehand and Heiploeg, Parlevliet explains. “Deutsche See is located throughout Germany. There is no town or village that is not supplied by Deutsche See. The company has twenty distribution centres throughout the country, each with 20 trucks. Within 24 hours, the fish will reach customers, anywhere in Germany.”
Deutsche See is, therefore, a valuable addition to the portfolio of Parlevliet and Van der Plas, says Diek Parlevliet. “We will make maximum use of the synergy effects of our shipping company and Heiploeg. And it works in two directions: undoubtedly we can also learn a lot from Deutsche See.”
In March, Dirk-Jan Parlevliet became CEO and part of the managementteam of Deutsche See. Other then that, there will be no major changes at the German giant, says Diek Parlevliet.
“Never change a winning team. We are going to tackle things together. We now also have the knowledge of Deutsche See at our disposal. This is an added value for PP. Every market is important to us. With Deutsche See, however, we are now very deep in the German market, and we can learn a lot from that.”
Since 2002, the company’s head office is been located in Katwijk, the home town of both families. The Parlevliet & Van der Plas group consists of fishing and fish processing companies.
PP owns over fourty fishing vessels, pelagic, demersal and tuna purse seiners, among which the largest fishing vessel in the world, the Annelies-Ilena (145 x 24 meter), named after two granddaughters of the founders. This pelagic trawler has a storage capacity of 8,000 tonnes.
PP’s fishing companies:
Parlevliet & Van der Plas B.V.- the Netherlands
Doggerbank Seefischerei GmbH – Germany
Mecklenburger Hochseefischerei GmbH – Germany
Faroe Pelagic – Faroer
Fish processing and trading companies:
German Seafrozen – Germany
Ouwehand Viswerking – the Netherlands
Euro-Baltic Fisch Verarbeitungs GmbH – Germany
Heiploeg International – the Netherlands
Joined ownership companies :
UK Fisheries Ltd – United Kingdom
Euronor – France
Compagnie des peches, Saint-Malo – France
Pesquera Ancora – Spain