Shareholders in Spain’s biggest fishing group and the pioneer of the country’s frozen food sector have agreed to the launch of a new company after narrowly avoiding bankruptcy two years ago.
It will be called simply Nueva (New) Pescanova, with existing shareholders retaining a 20% stake in the group while the rest will be held by creditor banks.
An extraordinary meeting held on 29 September gave the go-ahead to the relaunch of a group that will start with more than EUR1 bn in debts, similar to the sales volume expected this year.
Board spokesman Fernando Herce acknowledged it had been a “bitter-sweet day” in that they had voted in favor of the continuity of the company while suffering “considerable losses”.
The Fondo Cartesian fund issued a statement summing up the views of other shareholders in regretting what it called the slowness and lack of diligence demonstrated by Spanish authorities in clarifying what had happened at the Group.
It praised creditors, employees and the board for coming together to avoid what could have been “a catastrophic liquidation.”
Founded in 1960, Pescanova led the way in freezing freshly caught fish at sea before later moving into the frozen foods sector in general.
But in the middle of Spain’s financial crisis, the Group began to fall apart at the end of 2012 when recently joined shareholders questioned the lack of financial figures presented by a management then led by the president and son of one of Pescanova’s joint founders, Manuel Fernández de Sousa.
He and other former directors are still facing various charges including the falsifying of financial information and accounts.