Premier Fishing SA sells shares to staff, community

Cape Town, South Africa-based seafood company Premier Fishing SA, an affiliate of listed Premier Fishing and Brands Limited, has issued 30 percent of its total share capital to more than 900 of its employees, and to fishing communities in selected areas where the firm operates.

The transaction, which the company describes in a media statement as one of the “largest of its kind in South Africa and in the fishing sector,” would see 20 percent of the allocated shares attributed to employees share trust, while 10 percent has been assigned a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) consortium through a special-purpose vehicle for the benefit of employees residing in “Saldanha Bay, Cape Town, Hout Bay, Gansbaai, and Port Elizabeth.” The BEE is an integration program launched by the South African government to reconcile South Africans and redress the inequalities of apartheid.

According to Premier Fishing SA CEO Rushaan Isaacs, the transaction, which will likely be completed in 14 days, would enable the company and its employees “to share the profits of our combined efforts through this share scheme.”

“I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to be shareholders in Premier and be custodians of its brand and business into the future,” she said.

The Premier Fishing and Brands Group, which previously reported adverse effects of COVID-19 on its financial performance, is focused on commercial fishing, fish processing, marketing and sales to local and international clients with preference for markets in the Far East, Europe, and the United States.

The share transfer comes soon after Premier Fishing SA, which deals in seafood products such as lobster, octopus, squid, pilchards, anchovies, hake, and horse mackerel, as well as an abalone aquaculture venture, reported a decline in revenues in the first quarter of 2020 as global seafood prices fell.

In the first quarter of 2020, Premier Fishing reported revenue decline to ZAR 215 million (USD 12.9 million, EUR 11 million) from ZAR 287 million (USD 17.2 million, EUR 14.7 million) a year previously. The company also reported a decrease in both gross profit and profit after tax to ZAR 80 million (USD 4.7 million EUR 4 million) and ZAR 20 million (USD 1.2 million, EUR 1 million) down from ZAR 137 million (USD 3.2 million, EUR 6.9 million) and ZAR 55 million (USD 3.2 million, EUR 2.7 million) respectively.

However, the company said it is currently “expanding, and has one of the largest and most advanced environmentally friendly abalone farms, which is situated in Gansbaai, with an annual production output of approximately 190 tons, which it markets in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.”

The company’s outlook warns of uncertainty in the global seafood market because of prevailing inability to predict when COVID-19 will be brought under control and have markets return to normal.

Premier Fishing SA’s major shareholder, African Equity Empowerment Investments, said it supports the staff and community staff transfer transaction saying the deal is “an excellent display of doing good business whilst empowering and rewarding the employees and communities that help Premier realize its excellent business results.”

“When a company takes care of its employees and its communities, the financial success will follow,” African Equity Empowerment Investments CEO Valentine Dzvova said.

Despite the 2020 trading challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, Premier Fishing SA is optimistic the new share transaction “would provide employees and fishing community members with a say in the strategic direction of the growth of the company in the future.”  

Photos courtesy of Premier Fishing, African Equity Empowerment Investments


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