Pescanova emerges from bankruptcy

By

Pilar Caride, SeafoodSourcecontributing editor, reporting from Vigo, Spain

Published on
May 27, 2014

Little more than one difficult year after its problems began, Spanish seafood giant Pescanova has emerged from bankruptcy proceedings.

Pescanova has been embroiled in troubles for more than a year after declining to present to Spanish regulators its annual accounts. Subsequent investigations revealed discrepancies between the company's accounting and its debts, which led to the company filing for bankruptcy and replacing its board of directors and president.

On 23 May a Spanish court judge allowed the proceedings to end, following the signing of an agreement between Pecanova and its creditors to settle its debts and secure the company’s future.

After the judgment, Pescanova issued a statement saying, “it opens a new phase in the process of recovery of the normality of the functioning of the Group, which will culminate with the creation of Nueva Pescanova." In addition, the company said that in this new phase, Pescanova's Board of Directors recovers its full powers of disposition and representation and that their fundamental aim will be "to stimulate and to execute the necessary actions for the fulfillment of the creditors' agreement."

Among the priority actions they emphasized the process of restructuring most of the company’s Spanish subsidiaries.

According to the company’s press release, representatives of the main creditors of the Group, Pescanova and bankruptcy trustee Deloitte will form a Commission of Vigilance of the agreement.

In the next months, Pescanova's board of directors will take charge of overall Group operations, until the future shareholders of “Nueva Pescanova” could take over in the process of decision-making, according to the company.

All of these changes, starting with the court ruling, happened one day after the Pescanova President Juan Manuel Urgoiti, resigned from his post of his own volition. It has not been the only resignation, since the directors of major shareholding companies Damm and Luxempart already resigned also from their posts in the Pescanova Board of Directors, as was to be expected.

Regarding Pescanova's foreign subsidiaries, last week, the regional newspaper La Voz de Galicia published that the banks that now control Pescanova, consider Pesca Chile as an irrecoverable subsidiary. Nevertheless, the banks have decided to finance the subsidiary, enabling a credit line in order to support the activity of the company and guarantee its production until the subsidiary can be auctioned off, according to the media.

Regarding the possible future owners of Pesca Chile, La Voz de Galicia indicated potential buyers include the Canadian Cupquelan, the Norway’s Marine Harvest and the Chilean Friosur. El Economista also said that Charoen Pokphand showed interest in acquisition of aquaculture firms in Central America, specializing in the production of vannamei shrimp.

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