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Palencia (EFE) -Invoicing 20 million and creating 60 jobs in just six months is possible. This has been demonstrated by the Palencia businessman Conrado Merino with his new company, Merpacífico, specialized in octopus processing in inland and almost empty Spain.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the place where the most octopus is cooked in the world is in Palencia. Merino saw the capital as the perfect port to lay the tentacles of an octopus cooker.

He did it first by founding Viveros Merimar, in 1991, a company dedicated to the wholesale trade of fish and seafood that became a leader in the marketing of cooked octopus and that ended up selling, in 2018, to Angulas Aguinaga. Five years later, this businessman, who has accumulated more than three decades of experience and is also president of the Palencia Chamber of Commerce, has decided to return. He has done so with his daughter, Manuela Merino. And between them, they have doubled the bet.

“We have bet again for Palencia. We are very Palencian and we are proud to bet on Palencia and to create wealth here”, said Conrado Merino during a visit in which he showed the new facilities located in the Industrial Park to the President of the Provincial Council, Ángeles Armisén, and to the media.

Merpacífico has been built right next to Viveros Merimar, the first major project of this businessman who grew up in the fish stall that first his grandmother Teodora and then his father ran in Palencia’s food market.

Merpacífico, 17 million in investment and 20 million in turnover in only six months

Its latest endeavor adds up to 10,000 square meters of facilities, with a large cold storage capacity and state-of-the-art technology, which has required an investment of 17 million euros.

In addition, Manuela Merino heads a modern management that allows the distribution of thousands of tons of octopus, operating directly from the fishing grounds in the main fishing grounds, where they have their own freezers and experts who select the best octopus, to the Palencia plant where it is cooked, processed and packaged according to the needs of each consumer.

This infrastructure, the experience accumulated in the sector, the commitment of the employees and the trust of the customers have made it possible to close 2023 with a turnover of close to 20 million euros and to do so in only six months of operation. But the forecast is that in the next 5 years, the company will have a turnover of between 80 and 100 million euros, taking full advantage of the production capacity of the facilities: 10 tons of fresh octopus and 10 tons of cooked octopus per day.

In addition, Merpacífico has positioned itself in the international market and distributes its cooked octopus in Italy, France and Germany. However, other more distant markets such as Japan, China, Australia, Canada and the USA, among others, also stand out. At present, exports account for 70 percent of sales, but the goal is that production will soon be equally divided between the domestic and export markets.

An initial workforce of 60 employees

Merpacífico has started up with a workforce of 60 employees, but over the course of 2024 it expects to add new employees until it reaches 150 workers, tripling its workforce in less than five years.

In this regard, the President of the Provincial Council of Palencia, Ángeles Armisén, thanked Conrado Merino “for his interest in investing in Palencia and generating employment and economic activity”.

Merino took the opportunity to point out the need to create employment in provinces that are losing population, and that the administrations “are aware that they have to favor these opportunities and provide all the necessary means for people to invest in our land”.

In this context, he regretted that the grant requested from the Center for Technological Development and Innovation (CDTI) for Merpacífico has been denied on two occasions. “On paper they didn’t see it as viable,” Merino lamented. “We have been denied twice and we have it in court,” continued the businessman who has asked political representatives to defend entrepreneurs who invest and risk for their land.

They have obtained a grant from the Spanish Government, more than 1 million euros for Tortumar 95, a new company dedicated to the logistics and storage of frozen products, which will involve an investment of 5.4 million euros and create 10 new jobs.

Agencia EFE

Almudena Álvarez

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