The agony of Pescanova.

Author:Manaut, Sergio

The Galician fishing company, Pescanova, with a presence in 11 Latin American countries, will sell its assets as a way of financial crisis. About 8,000 employees will lose jobs.

In April, when the National Securities Commission requested statements from all of Pescanova's creditors, it not only definitively ended the era of Manuel Fernandez de Sousa-Faro, who had presided over the company with an iron fist for three decades, it also exposed the hidden accounting of the fishing company that had been a symbol of Galicia. Hidden under the carpet was a debt of $4.4 billion, almost triple what the company had declared. It was a brutal blow to Galician pride. Pescanova, founded in 1960, is one of the leading Spanish multinationals, with a presence in more than 20 countries and a payroll of more than 10,500 employees. Of these, 8,000 work in Latin America, while just 1,000 are in Galicia.

To appreciate the effect of the fishing industry on Latin America, you only have to look at a map. It is present in 11 countries, and its flag flies over 14 affiliates. This did not go unnoticed by the receiver from Deloitte who insisted on paying out $72 million to meet the firm's most urgent liquidity needs. According to sources within the creditor banks, half would go to companies in Latin America.

Analysts believe that the bet on aquaculture could have been one of the causes of the fall of the world's sixth largest fisheries in terms of sales (billings for the third quarter of 2012 were $990 million). In recent years, it has invested more than $650 million in growing lobsters, turbot and salmon in fish farms of up to 27,200 acres in Chile, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Whether it was a risky bet or a strategy, what's certain is that after the debacle of the parent company, the main Latin American affiliates started to fall like dominoes. And so, 24 hours after Fernandez de Sousa-Faro left the parent company by court order...

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