Pescanova Stakeholders Extend Talks as Liquidation Process Looms

Pescanova SA stakeholders held a second day of talks a week before the Spanish fishing company must agree on a debt restructuring or begin a process of liquidation, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Representatives of shareholder Damm SA, the Spanish brewer, are meeting in Madrid with lenders, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak about it. The banks comprise Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Banco Popular Espanol SA, Banco Sabadell SA, CaixaBank SA, NCG Banco SA and Unione di Banche Italiane SCPA.

A bankruptcy court has given creditors until April 15 to approve a proposal from shareholders Damm and Luxempart SA, which includes an increased equity stake for lenders in exchange for additional capital. Rather than back the plan, Pescanova’s lenders submitted an alternative offer this month, which would give them control of the company if it enters liquidation.

The operator of fish farms and processing plants from Spain to Chile, as well as more than 90 ships, needs to win agreement from more than 50 percent of creditors. The Pontevedra, Galicia-based company had 3.25 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of net debt at the end of 2012, according to a Dec. 10 statement from court-appointed administrator Deloitte LLP.

Pescanova’s lenders want to retain 1 billion euros of debt in the restructured company, rather than the 700 million euros proposed by shareholders, the person said. Under the banks’ proposal they would inject 115 million euros into the company and guarantee 1 billion euros of debt.

Bonds Fall

The company’s 160 million euros of 8.75 percent notes due 2019 were little changed at 8.2 cents on the euro today, Bloomberg bond prices show. The notes traded at 16 cents on March 6.

Founded in 1960, Pescanova developed the world’s first fishing boat equipped with a freezer, allowing the company’s boats to trawl waters around Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The company expanded to operate fish farms and processing facilities from Nicaragua to Japan and Namibia.

A Pescanova official and a spokeswoman for Damm in Barcelona, who both asked not to be identified citing company policy, declined to comment on the restructuring.

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