NBAMR, Okeanrybflot may have merged, creating pollock-fishing giant

Published on
February 4, 2021

Nakhodka Active Marine Base (NBAMR) and Okeanrybflot – two fisheries in Russia’s Far East – have allegedly merged. If reports are accurate, the merger has created a company possessing the largest quota in the sector, with fishing rights for more than 460,000 metric tons (MT) a year.

Business paper Kommersant wrote that since December 2020 Okeanrybflot has been owned by “the same beneficiaries which own NBAMR,” citing documents Okeanrybflot published in January within disclosure procedures required for Russian public joint-stock companies. No further details were available.

Kommersant cited an anonymous source in the industry who said he knew about the deal. However, that source told the media outlet added that NBAMR may buy only part of Okeanrybflot’s business.

The Regnum news agency reported that Okeanrybflot’s board of directors gathered on 11 December, 2020, to approve two deals, with no further details available. The companies have refused to comment on the matter, and questions sent to both companies by SeafoodSource have gone unanswered. 

If a merger deal has been inked, the larger company will control an estimated 464,000 MT in quotas. According to Forbes magazine, NBAMR possesses fishing rights for 181,000 MT a year, while Okeanrybflot has rights to 282,800 MT in quotas.

At the moment, the biggest fishery in terms of quotas in Russia is NOREBO, with 430,000 MT followed; by Gidrostroy, which owns rights for 410,000 MT; and the Russian Fishery Company (RFC), with 330,000 MT. 

Okeanrybflot was founded in 1968. It specializes both in catching and selling raw products and producing ready-to-eat seafood supplied to Russian retailers, primarily made of pollock, herring, and squid. The main stakeholders are (or were) Valeriy Ponomarev and Igor Evtushok. Its catch in 2020 exceeded 270,000 MT, the company said on its website. The fishery operates 16 vessels. 

NBAMR, established in 1952, operates 12 vessels fishing pollock, herring, lemonema, squid, grenadier, and crab. Each of its vessels has on-board processing capabilities to manufacture fillet, mince, headed and gutted fish, fish oil, and fish meal. In 2019, the fishery caught 172,490 MT of seafood. The controlling stakeholder in the company is Sergei Darkin.

Kommersant estimated the price tag of Okeanrybflot’s business at RUB 28 billion (USD 368 million, EUR 306 million) basing its calculations on the company's earnings and industry multipliers. 

The alleged deal will be one of the biggest in the Russian fishery sector over the last decade. In 2013, the Russian Fishery Company bought two companies from foreign owners for USD 40 million (EUR 33 million). In 2019, Gidrostroy group of companies purchased Preobrazhenskaya Basa Tralovogo Flota (PBTF) for a reported sum of USD 430 million (EUR 366.5 million). 

NOREBO Deputy CEO Sergei Sennikov told Kommersant the possible merger would make it easier for the new player to get access to bank loans and thus enhance its capacity to invest in new fishing vessels - a requirement of the investment quota program initiated by the Russian government to spur the growth of the country's fishing sector.  

Reporting from Saint Petersburg, Russia

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