Chilean court declares Nova Austral bankrupt

A Nova Austral fish farm
A Nova Austral fish farm | Photo courtesy of Nova Austral
4 Min

A Chilean judge has declared Chilean salmon-farming firm Nova Austral bankrupt.

Chilean Judge Pablo Aceituno accepted complaints made by two Nova Austral creditors – Comercializadora Nutreco Chile Limitada and Salmonifera Dalcahue Limitada – alleging unequal and illegal treatment in Nova Austral's financial reorganization process approved in January 2024, La Prensa Austral reported.

The agreement “constitutes deprivation of assets for those affected,” Aceituno said.

Nova Austal’s reorganization was aimed at ensuring operational continuity for the firm, which has posted financial losses and been fined numerous times by the Chilean government for environmental infractions. Aceituno’s resolution now orders the opening of a bankruptcy liquidation process, requesting the Chilean Superintendence of Insolvency to nominate a liquidator.

Nova Austral is reportedly working with law firm Carey to prepare an appeal against the resolution and a new proposal to negotiate with suppliers. The three largest creditors of Norwegian-owned Nova Austral – reportedly more than USD 550 million (EUR 516 million) in debt – are Nordic Trustee, which has invested USD 415 million (EUR 389 million) in the company, followed by DNB Bank at USD 69 million (EUR 64.7 million), and Skretting at USD 23 million (EUR 21.6 million). 

Nova Austral employs more than 3,000 people directly and indirectly. It came under investigation in 2019 from Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) for underreporting mortalities – an infraction which led to criminal charges and fines. It has been in regulatory hot water and financial straits since then. In April 2024, a Chilean court of appeals confirmed the salmon farmer must pay a fine of CLP 1.02 billion (USD 1.06 million, EUR 992,000) for other environmental infractions.

Nova Austral posted a USD 32.8 million (EUR 30.8 million) net loss in Q4 2023, going further into the red when compared to the USD 22 million (EUR 20.6 million) net loss it recorded in Q4 2022.

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