Spain’s Pescanova SA (PVA), Europe’s second- biggest fish processor, plunged 60% after it started the initial phase of seeking creditors’ protection and delayed results pending asset sales and a debt renegotiation.
The shares tumbled to 6.96 Euros in Madrid, or 60% lower than its previous close at 17.40 Euros on Feb. 28, a day before it was suspended from trading by stock market regulator CNMV.
Pescanova, based in Pontevedra, northwest Spain, said last week it would not provide financial results for 2012 until it proceeds with either the “certainty” of a sale of some salmon- farming assets or the renegotiation of its debt. The company also said it entered a preliminary phase of seeking protection from creditors.
The company’s 160 million Euros of 8.75% convertible bonds due 2019 dropped and were quoted at 46 cents on the Euro by KNG Securities LLP in London. Its two other convertible securities, due 2017 and 2015, were quoted at similar levels, KNG said.
“The company continues to carry out its regular activities and it will announce any significant development about the debt and asset-sale negotiations through the stock-market regulator,” Angel Matamoro, general manager at Pescanova Alimentacion, the unit that sells products in Spain, said on Monday.
Matamoro declined to comment on when the company will agree new terms on its debt or sell assets. He also wouldn’t say when Pescanova will release its earnings.
Pescanova shares had gained 24% in the year through Feb. 28, valuing the company at 500 million Euros. As of today, Pescanova has fallen 50% this year, valuing the business at 200 million Euros. The benchmark IBEX 35 index has risen 1% in the year to date.
There are many more sellers than buyers of the stock and it is difficult to match buyers to sellers’ prices, according to Pablo Malumbres, a spokesman at Bolsas & Mercados Españoles SA, the operator of Spain’s biggest securities exchange. More than 1.6 million shares couldn’t be sold on Monday, while there were bids for only about 650 shares at 6.80 Euros, according to Fernando Canales, another spokesman for BME. That means the company may face further losses tomorrow, he said.
Pescanova, which has about 10.000 employees and a presence in more than 20 countries, counts more than 100 vessels and almost 50 fish-farming plants among its assets, according to the company’s Website.
Pescanova currently has debt of €1.522 billion, eight times its annual operating profit, reports Madrid’s leading newspaper, El Pais. The newspaper stated that by entering pre-receivership, the company is allowed three months to try to refinance its liabilities. The National Securities Commission (CNMV) on Friday 1 March suspended trading in Pescanova’s shares.