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United States/China

Texas Primo Broodstock Purchased by Chinese Companies


In early 2015, Texas Primo Broodstock, Inc., run by Ken and Neal Gervais, was marketing genetically improved Penaeus vannamei broodstock from an inland, biosecure facility in Brookshire, Texas.  Then it dropped out of sight.


Its website does not appear to have been updated in the last two years, and there is nothing about the following story on its website.


In November 2016, Ningbo Tech-Bank Co., Ltd., was purchased by Texas Primo Broodstock, Inc., through a Delaware-based shell company called TB Food USA Holding Corporation in China.  Contrary to its name, Ningbo is neither a bank nor a technology company.  It’s a large, stock-market-listed, agricultural conglomerate in China, engaged in feeds, food processing, biological products, bio-diesel and chemical products.  It markets aquatic feeds for shrimp, crabs, fish, turtles, frogs and livestock, including pigs, poultry, cows and sheep.  In 2015, its annual revenues were $312.3 million.


Ningbo then formed a joint venture named Guangdong Haimao Industry with China’s Haimao Group.  The joint venture will own 100% of Texas Primo’s assets.  Ningbo contributed $24.4 million to the joint venture, and Haimao contributed $16.6 million.


Haimao is a group of four subsidiaries that produce shrimp broodstock and seedstock.  It’s based in China’s important shrimp-producing region of Zhanjiang and is owned by the Chen family, which operates three broodstock facilities and ten shrimp hatcheries.  Each of the four subsidiaries is run by a family member.  Prior to the formation of the joint venture, Haimao Group was the exclusive distributor of Texas Primo broodstock in China.


Besides the Chinese market, the joint venture will sell shrimp broodstock to markets abroad, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.  In Vietnam, the firm is already in discussions with clients who have tried the broodstock and consider it very good.


Fish First, a Chinese trade magazine, said: “Currently the best quality shrimp broodstock is controlled by foreign companies.”  Now, “for...first time China’s industry has control over its own shrimp resources.”


Shrimp industry pioneer Randall Aungst will play a key role in the new joint venture.  Starting in the early 1970s with the Ralston Purina shrimp farming project in Panama, Aungst designed, built and managed numerous successful shrimp hatcheries in both the Americas and Asia.  He became CEO of Primo Broodstock in January 2016, after two and a half years at INVE Aquaculture, one of the world’s leading marketers of shrimp hatchery feeds.  INVE was acquired by the United Kingdom’s Benchmark for $342 million in 2015.


Aungst will partner with Chinese shrimp broodstock and fry specialist Chen Guoliang, who is one of the family-member owners of the Haimao Group.  Chen, who has 30 years experience in the shrimp fry and broodstock sector, was the main driving force behind the deal for Texas Primo Broodstock, believing its broodstock had great potential in China.


Information: Zhao Lei, Ningbo Tech-Bank Co., Ltd., Animal Health Division, Block 1805-1807 A Sunshine International Building 55, Yuli Road, Yuyao City Zhejiang, Shanghai, Shanghai, China 200233 (Phone 86-21-5448, Fax 86-21-5448, Email and, Webpage


Sources: 1. Undercurrent News [eight free news reads every month].  Editor, Tom Seaman.  (a) Texas-Based Shrimp Company Exchanged in Chinese Joint Venture Deal, (b) Chinese Firm Eyed INVE Aquaculture Before Texas Primo Deal and (c) US Shrimp Pioneer to Play Key Role at Chinese Shrimp Broodstock JV.  Louis Harkell (  January 9, 11 and 17, 2017.  2. EMIS.  Ningbo Tech-Bank Co., Ltd.  Website visit on January 17, 2017.  3. Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, January 19, 2017.