The Spanish seafood group Pescanova is reportedly close to selling Falkland Islands Lafonia Seafood, which has operations valued between €15 and €20 million, reported the Spanish newspaper Cinco Días.
Lafonia owns a stake in Polar Limited, which is also in the Falklands, as well as Antarctic Sea Fisheries in Chile.
Polar, the result of a joint venture between Pescanova and Seawood Limited, has two squid vessels, catching some 13,240 tons in 2012 – a big increase from less than 6,000t in 2011.
Antarctic Sea Fisheries belongs entirely to Lafonia. It has a longline with cod fishing licenses near Falkland Islands and owns the krill catcher Betanzos.
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report on Pescanova estimated last year that Lafonia could reach annual sales of €21.7m. According to the same report, the subsidiary owes €3.2 million to Banco Sabadell, €2m to Bank of Western Australia and €1.39m to BBVA.
Fuel is the main operating cost of the operations, amounting to €2.48m per year.
Sources told Cinco Dias that Pescanova — which is being restructured after exiting a year in bankruptcy protection — has chosen to divest Lafonia to focus on its shrimp subsidiary in Argentina, Argenova.
Last year, Argenova was the fishing subsidiary that most contributed to Pescanova's fishing sales, with 38% of total sales.
According to sources, the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands makes the Argentine government look unfavorably on companies with business in the area, which could have motivated Pescanova’s decision to sell Lafonia.
Earlier this week, Marine Harvest unveiled it was acquiring the former Pescanova-owned Chilean salmon producer Acuinova Chile, which has a capacity to produce about 40,000 metric tons head-on gutted (HOG) salmon per annum.
The asset purchase includes a hatchery, a smolt facility, 36 sea water licenses and a primary and secondary processing facility, all located in Chile’s Region XI.
The announcement followed Ewso agreeing to buy Nova Austral, the other Chilean salmon farmer previously owned by Pescanova, on Sept. 8.