Nueva Pescanova seeks debt-to-equity swap, despite opposition from some shareholders

Published on
January 25, 2021

Redondela, Pontevedra, Spain-based Nueva Pescanova is seeking permission from its creditors to conduct a capital increase, in the hopes of reducing its debt.

The company will call a general meeting of shareholders with the goal of winning a majority vote in favor of a voluntary capital increase, which it said in a press release “would secure its viability in the short- and medium-term.”

The company is still carrying EUR 643 million (USD 780 million) of the EUR 1 billion (USD 1.2 billion) in debt it inherited after it emerged from a messy bankruptcy procedure. That debt “damages both the bottom line, its cash flow, as well as the access to funding,” according to the company.

“The restructured company would have a strong equity position and would be able to carry out its business without the burden of the current debt inherited from its predecessor,” the company said.

Nueva Pescanova had previously attempted a debt-to-equity swap in June 2020 but its move was challenged in court by several of its major shareholders, including the investment fund Broadbill, which prefered to wind up the company, arguing the move would impose a disproportionate sacrifice on them.

Last week, in an unappealable decision, a judge ruled Nueva Pescanova’s viability plan does comply with the principle of equal treatment and therefore did not unfairly treat its creditors, but said it needed to obtain the approval of a majority vote of its shareholders on the plan.

In March 2020, Galician bank Abanca acquired a majority stake in Nueva Pescanova, and its reformed board of directors is pushing forward with an effort to gain approval for its restructuring plan via a vote of its shareholders at its next general meeting. A date for the meeting has not yet been announced.

“With this capital increase, the company will be restructured, with a sound equity and capable of undertaking its business without the burden of its current debt,” the company said.

Founded in 1960, Nueva Pescanova Group is engaged in fishing, farming, processing, and trading of seafood products in fresh, chilled, and frozen formats. It currently has operations in 20 countries on four continents, and its products are sold in more than 80 nations. The company has 10,000 employees.

Photo courtesy of Nueva Pescanova

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