Nueva Pescanova slims board of directors, appoints José María Benavent as executive chairman

Redondela, Spain-based vertically integrated seafood company Nueva Pescanova held its first board meeting since Abanca took a majority stake in the company in March, voting to trim its board of directors from a dozen members to five, and appointing José María Benavent as executive chairman.

Benavent, who has held management positions at Caixabank, Telco, R-Cable, and Euskaltel, has served as a director and member Nueva Pescanova’s audit, control, and finance committee since June 2019. He is also at board member at Abanca, which owns more than 80 percent of Nueva Pescanova after buying out shares owned by Banco Sabadell and Caixabank last month.

Ignacio González, the CEO of the Spanish seafood giant since February 2016, will continue as managing director and CEO, according to a 13 April press release.

“José María Benavent and Ignacio González, together with the rest of the members of the Board, executives, managers and employees of the Nueva Pescanova Group, take on the challenge of strengthening the financial and commercial structure of the company, and consolidating this fishing, aquaculture, processing, and commercial company as a reference of the seafood sector globally,” the company said.

The remaining members of the new board include Javier Carral, José Fafián Seijo, and Marco Nieto. Carral and Nieto are employees of Abanca, where Carral serves as director of investee companies and Nieto works as credit tracking manager. Fafián Seijo has worked for Nueva Pescanova since 1972, and currently holds the position of director of industry transformation.

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.

After a messy bankruptcy procedureallegations of financial mismanagement, the firing of the former CEO and board of directors, and a drawn-out fight with major shareholders, in a 2017 interview with SeafoodSource, González said he is working toward a “resurrection” of the company based on value-added products. He has also worked to attract new investment to the firm.

Abanca’s investment in Nueva Pescanova has increased from 5.5 percent three years ago to holding more than three-quarters of the company’s shares today. Nueva Pescanova hit record sales in 2019 at more than EUR 1.1 billion (USD 1.2 billion), but suffered a difficult 2019, with losses estimated at up to EUR 50 million (USD 54.9 million). As part of its buy-in, Abanca will invest EUR 50 million (USD 54.8 million) into helping finance the construction of four new fishing vessels that will be based in Mozambique, and three additional vessels fishing in Namibia.

Photo courtesy of Nueva Pescanova


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