The development of the frozen food sector in Spain over the past two years has been overshadowed by the continuing restructuring of the group that has been a virtual tugboat in guiding the industry from its very beginning.
What started as a big surprise when it was revealed that Pescanova was in financial trouble at the beginning of 2013 turned into near shock when the massive fishing-based conglomerate sunk into bankruptcy proceedings by April of that year.
Two years later
Now, the group is waiting on a report from KPMG, the auditors who uncovered the irregularities in the first place, to see what parts are likely to remain from its subsequent restructuring. The new management has called an extraordinary meeting for late November where details of a viability plan drawn up by PwC are due to be discussed. It was an earlier KPMG report that revealed how Pescanova’s previous directors, led by the chairman and son of the founder, Manuel Fernández de Sousa, had created a series of accounting systems that disguised the size of the group’s mounting debts.
“They were not by chance, but the result of a conscious plan that has been carried out for various years by the board of Pescanova,” it said.
Those debts are estimated by the auditors to have reached EUR3.2bn by the end of 2012 – more than double the figure recognized by the group’s board only a few months before. Investment bank Lazard has been put in charge of negotiating the refinancing of the debts with chief creditors, led ...