Corporate News

Mega Tuna maker eyes new overseas markets

Posted on February 06, 2017

MEGA GLOBAL Corporation, maker of canned sardines and tuna, is looking to broaden its market presence both locally and abroad this year, as it expects strong consumer growth to continue.

Popular actress Liza Soberano signs a new endorsement contract for Mega Global Corporation’s Mega Tuna product on Jan. 27. -- BETTINA V. ROC
In an interview with BusinessWorld, Mega Global President and Chief Executive Officer William Tiu Lim said the company currently exports its products to 36 countries, mainly in North America and the Middle East.

Asked if there are plans to enter new export markets, Mr. Lim said, “Yes, our products are globally competitive. We continuously strive to bring the best products from the Philippines to the rest of the world.”

The company is targeting a 28% increase in sales this year, building on the growth momentum from last year’s sales which also saw a 28% boost.

“(We see) very strong growth in terms of consumption. As the economy expands, the buying power grows and usually consumption is the first priority in expenditures,” Mr. Lim said.

For the domestic market, Mega Global has expanded its presence in supermarkets nationwide.

“We’ll be continuing these efforts in the coming months by optimizing merchandising arrangements. We are also leveraging on our strong brand equity, of being the number one sardines brand in the Philippines and as a distributor of innovative, high-quality and delicious canned products,” he said, referring to its flagship Mega Sardines brand.

Meanwhile, launched in 2015, the company’s Mega Tuna brand is also making gains in the market, thanks to ads featuring popular teen actress Liza Soberano. Ms. Soberano recently renewed her endorsement contract with Mega Tuna.

Mr. Lim underscored the importance of celebrity endorsements for brands, “especially if their personalities and principles are what the brands stand for.”

“They serve as the face of the brands to their target markets. Leveraging on well-known and reputable celebrities like Liza Soberano and Marian Rivera who have large fan bases brings Mega Global’s products closer to more consumers. They help introduce our new products, Mega Tuna and Mega Prime, to the market wherein competitors have already established followers. They help grab a portion of sales and convert consumers to try and purchase our products,” he said.

The Mega Global founder recalled how the company expanded its fishing operations to Zamboanga in the early 1990s, a time when people said it was too risky. Back then, Mega Global was a fishing company that sold their supply to brands such as Ligo and Young’s Town.

“When you’re into fishing, pinupuntahan mo talaga ang isda, although sinasabi talaga na delikado ang Zamboanga,(you have to go where the fish are, although they say Zamboanga is a risky place). But if you don’t make any bold moves, medyo natatakot ka pa, baka forever pa rin kami sa Masbate at Navotas (if you’re scared, maybe we will still be in Masbate and Navotas)... In business, you sometimes have to take risks,” Mr. Lim said.

Mr. Lim decided to go into canning and selling after seeing how canners in Navotas controlled the prices of raw materials.

“We are the ones supplying the raw materials and yet they are the only ones making money, and fishing is not earning. That’s where we decided to go into canning,” he said.

Mega Global’s canning facility started operating in 2000. Unlike other canners that he says use second or third class fish for their sardines, Mr. Lim said he wanted to use only the freshest fish for Mega Global products.

“Our theme is from ‘catching to canning.’ We want to show we’re a fishing company, doing the canning ourselves... We’re assuring the consumer of the freshness of the fish,” he said.

In 2015, the company had six catchers, and added four purse seines in the following year, as it beefed up its fishing fleet to meet the demand.

This year, Mega Global said it will invest heavily in its fishing, manufacturing and distribution operations.

“We have a new warehouse, office building, manufacturing plant and new fishing vessel in the pipeline for 2017,” Mr. Lim said.

Despite its success, Mr. Lim said the company is not yet looking to go public.

“Mega Global is not yet eyeing for an IPO in the near future. Mega Global is committed to its internal stakeholders and the consumer,” he said. -- Cathy Rose A. Garcia