Rodrigo Rivera Sr.: Richest Filipino Fisherman
Mr. Rodrigo E. Rivera, Sr. was a banker for 20 years before he decided to put up his own company, RD Pawnshop, with very limited capital in 1976. While the pawnshop business was flourishing, Mr. Rivera and his wife, Mrs. Dolores Chua, invested their earnings with other enterprises that similarly prospered. Mr. Rivera also attracted former colleagues in the banking industry to help him out in his business, making sure that the business units were growing while new investments were prudently planned and executed.
In less than two decades, the family business grew into a group of 42 companies and subsidiaries. RD Corporation is the holding and managing entity. The flagship company is RD Fishing Industry, Inc. which serves the global market. Fresh tuna, tha main produce, and canned products are exported to Europe and the USA, Japan and other countries, while local brand Diana is sold in the Philippines.
With 8,000 employees, the RD Group of Companies is also into banking real estate, hotels, and resorts, agriculture, credit and gemology, and pawnshop operations. Mr. Rivera is keen on expanding outlets. He also has plans for RD Corporation to go public to help fund further expansion.
In 1999, Mr. Rivera was named the Outstanding Countryside Investor of the Year as well as one of the Top 20 Employers. He was appointed as Papua New Guinea Honorary Consul General for Mindanao in 2001 and received the Rajah Award of Excellence in 2004.
On January 22, 2010 Philippine Star reported that Filipino owned RD Corp. announced they will be investing $15 million for a new plant in General Santos City for its canned tuna export business.
RD Group chairman Rodrigo Rivera Sr. said that they will be starting the new cannery in the first quarter next year. The group already has six canneries in General Santos City.
They also have operations in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Their plant in Indonesia produces 80 metric tons while the one in Papua New Guinea produces 200 metric tons.
The new cannery will increase their output from 140 tons per day to 200 tons daily. Likewise, the new cannery will create 1,200 to 1,500 new jobs.
Rivera said that the canned tuna business is a very labor intensive business. Currently they have 11,000 employees, 7,000 of which are in General Santos City. He revealed that 90 percent of their employees are women.
RD Corp. is the biggest exported of canned tuna. They export 380 million metric tons per year. Rivera said that one container costs $40,000. They export 14 containers every day.
He said that 30 percent of the canned tuna they produce are exported. Aside from canned tuna, Rodrigo noted that they are also selling scrap of fish overseas.
RD Corp. is composed of four fishing companies namely RD Fishing Industry Inc, RD Tuna Ventures Inc., South Sea Fishing Ventures Philippines Inc. and Asia Pacific Allied Fishing Ventures Corp.
The RD Fishing’s fishing fleet counts 102 vessels – 18 catchers, eight reefer carriers, 17 fish carriers, 49 Ranger/Light Boats, 1 Tanker, 1 Tugboat and eight other support vessels.
The combined fishholding capacity of the fleet’s superseiners ranges from 450 to 1,200 metric tons; while the reef carriers have a maximum capacity of 2,400 metric tons.
RD Food Processing and Export Corp. is the export marketing arm of RD Corp., located inside the General Santos City Fish Port Complex.