Business Irish

Sunday 21 April 2019

Fears for Irish fishing jobs as Spanish company files for insolvency

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

SPAIN'S financial crisis could hit the livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen along the west coast after one of Europe's top fishing companies filed for insolvency.

Pescanova, which has more than 160 subsidiaries in 20 countries including Ireland, shocked the Spanish stock market when it filed for insolvency last week.

The move could affect Pescanova subsidiary Eiranova Fisheries, which has been based in Castletownbere in Co Cork and also has an office in Dingle, Co Kerry.

The factory processes brown shrimp and employs around 20 people at its west Cork operation on the main pier of Dinnish Island in Castletownbere. However, many of the smaller boats fishing for shrimp from Castletownbere Harbour also supply their catch to Eiranova.

Around 100 boats fishing from Castletownbere Harbour alone supply their catch to the factory, as well as other boats fishing for shellfish on the west coast from Cork Harbour to Loop Head in Clare.

Local businessman and chairman of the Beara Tourist Development Association, John Murphy, said Eiranova had been a good employer in the area and people were closely watching the situation with its parent company.

"Anything that impacts on the fishing industry in Castletownbere impacts on us all. The local economy evolves around the fishing industry and we would be very concerned about any loss of revenue and the impact it would have on a small, rural community like this," Mr Murphy told the Irish Independent.

Debt

Pescanova filed for insolvency after a month of boardroom battles ended in stalemate and put the future of the debt-laden group at risk.

The company suspended its auditors, BDO, and has said it will hire forensic auditors to examine its accounts after reporting discrepancies in its books on March 12, a day after the market regulator said it would investigate the fishing firm over possible market abuse. Pescanova has yet to present audited 2012 results and is in breach of Spanish law as a result.

The company, which has been operating for more than 50 years, employs 10,000 people around the world.

The group's creditors, according to a banking source, include Spain's biggest banks, Sabadell, Caixabank, Popular, Santander, BBVA and Bankia.

Irish Independent

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