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5 Things To Know About Oceanus Group (SGX:579), More Than A Singapore Seafood Supplier

From broke to going for broke


One of the things that changed for the Singaporeans during the pandemic is the importance of food security. It is easy for us to take for granted that we would be able to buy whatever food that takes our fancy when grocery shopping. It is only when supermarkets have trouble stocking our needed essentials that Singaporeans realise how crucial food security is.

Food technology (FoodTech) is one of Singapore’s growing industries. Not only doesn’t it tackle the issue of food security in Singapore, but it also allows Singapore to leverage its use of technology in traditional food production to eventually reach our vision of “30 by 30” – producing 30% of our nutritional needs by 2030.

One company is Oceanus Group (SGX:579), a seafood supplier. First listed on the SGX in 2008, Oceanus was mired in corporate governance issues and debt, resulting in its placement on SGX’s watchlist in 2015. Oceanus was on the brink of bankruptcy and burdened with various issues, such as the default of SGD94 million in secured debt, outstanding staff salaries and rentals. However, Oceanus achieved a turnaround this year, exiting the SGX Watchlist in 2021, on the back of years of diligence, corporate leadership, six quarters of consecutive profitability.

Over the course of its multiple restructuring, Oceanus remains committed to sustainability and food security, aiming to be a leader in the FoodTech space, producing and supplying premium seafood and fast moving consumer goods products. At the start of the supply chain, Oceanus propagates its aquaculture knowledge with their farming partners, while at the strategic end, Oceanus works with educational institutions like Temasek Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic on food innovation. They have also established the Oceanus FoodTech Hub in Hainan as a key aquaculture centre for shrimp and fish farming in the region.

If you are interested in FoodTech, here are 5 things to know about Oceanus Group.

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Could you elaborate on Oceanus’ business segments?

The Group operates four main pillars:

  1. Food Production – Focused on being the gold standard of food producers. In addition to transforming the segment’s business model from full-scale production to that of farm leasing model, the Group is also invested in cutting-edge farming technologies such as deep-tech farming. Oceanus continues to be one of the world’s largest land-based farm owners.
  2. Distribution – Oversees over 2,000 fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) products with a distribution network in 16 countries. The Group recently incorporated Tradelog to provide warehouse and logistic services for frozen meat and seafood to further enhance distribution capabilities.
  3. Services – Provides consultation, business strategies, media solutions and corporate branding services. Its latest achievement was the creation of seamless visual effects for Singapore’s National Day Parade 2021, as well as Oceanus’ recent Annual General Meeting. Oceanus also plans to use its media capabilities to venture into the metaverse space, which would value-add to its other business segments. Alongside that, subsidiaries Aquarii and SCOPI, respectively offer business consultancy services for companies looking to expand into Cambodia, and leasing management services.
  4. Innovation – To stay ahead of the curve, Oceanus continuously pursues cutting-edge aquaculture research & development (R&D) alongside industry partners and institutions. Our collaborative efforts has culminated in the establishment of the Oceanus Oceanic Institute in Zhangpu, China and Oceanus Innovation Centre in Singapore. The Group also recently launched its own e-commerce brand – SGFarmer – to distribute Oceanus’ in-house and other FMCG products

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Sustainability and ESG have increasingly been a key focus, how is the Group committed to sustainability?

Oceanus seeks to leverage sustainable practices and adoption of cutting-edge food production technologies to position itself at the forefront of addressing global food security issues.

We have in place strict implementation of environmental policies:

  • Our hi-tech farm in Singapore has a six-tier system where shrimps are farmed. The controlled environment means the farm does not have to use antibiotics on the creatures, which are also not exposed to pollutants such as microplastics or mercury.
  • To reduce the energy requirements of a filtration system that relies on pumps, our farm developed its own “hybrid biological recirculation system”. This system harnesses the natural purifying abilities of beneficial bacteria and other aquatic plants, which cleanse the water naturally.
  • The combination of recirculation, biofloc and mechanical filtration ensures that the farming environment remains stable and secure while minimizing energy consumption

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How would technology play a part in ensuring a sustainable seafood value chain?

One key issue faced by the current seafood supply chain is food provenance, where there is a declining clarity on the source and quality of food products purchased by end consumers. Oceanus intends to address this issue through the development of its digital exchange commerce platform, employing blockchain, QR codes and IoT, to ensure that provenance of all food products from farm to store is kept transparent.

By employing cutting-edge food production technologies, we are able to scale up seafood production, thereby ensuring sufficient supply for consumers’ demands.

What is one lesser-known business area of Oceanus that you wish more people/investors know about?

On the non-profit side of things, Oceanus has been actively involved in improving lives within the local community. The Group has organised corporate charity events with organisations such as Willing Hearts Kitchen and Food from the Heart, and Waterways Singapore amongst others. Oceanus also believes in investing in the future generation, sponsoring several Republic Polytechnic scholarships since 2018, providing financial assistance to students.

Giving back to the community is and has always been one of the values of Oceanus Group.

Understanding your customers is one of the best ways to retain and build business. What are some things Oceanus has learned about its customers changing needs in a post-pandemic world? 

One of Oceanus’ key customer groups comprises global government bodies and their associated enterprises. Through them, we have learnt that global food security issue and shortages have risen since the onset of COVID-19. Having anticipated this, the Group built its capabilities through its four pillars. The first being Food Production, so that we can contribute to food sources. The next being Distribution, so that food can reach our customers locally. Services segment, to support our other pillars with consultancy, marketing and land management. And lastly Innovation – to ensure Oceanus’ position as a future-ready global food security player.

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Editor’s Note: Some answers for this article were extracted from the SGX 10 in 10 series published on 14 December 2021 and have been republished with permission. You can read more on the SGX website. 

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