Nueva Pescanova and Cooke, once again in the eye of the hurricane

Once again, Abanca has come out to quell rumors about the negotiations with Cooke and explain that negotiations restart in September.
Nueva Pescanova booth in Seafood Global Expo Barcelona 2023. Photo by: We Are Aquaculture.
Nueva Pescanova booth in Seafood Global Expo Barcelona 2023. Photo by: We Are Aquaculture.

The agreement between Nueva Pescanova and Cooke is once on everyone's lips, on this occasion, the information pointed out that after several comings and goings on the conditions, Cooke has reportedly decided to terminate the negotiations. Nevertheless, Abanca has denied the facts and stated that September was the date on which the agreements would be resumed.

According to a report from El Confidencial, Cooke's decision to break off negotiations came after a financial services firm highlighted deficiencies in Nueva Pescanova's financial management and the two parties failed to reach a consensus on the price. In contrast, Nueva Pescanova has denied these rumors, emphasizing their commitment to restarting negotiations in September.

Additionally, El Confidencial has drawn attention to Abanca's race against time to clear its accounts before the European Central Bank assesses its portfolio. This urgency has led to considerations of selling Pescanova to prevent significant financial losses. Reportedly, Juan Carlos Escotet, the owner of Abanca, is looking at the potential sale of Pescanova by the end of 2023, although Abanca has denied these claims.

A trip purchase under media

Taking a brief overview of the agreement, everything began in April. On this date, Cooke and Abanca – the majority owner of Nueva Pescanova – entered into exclusive negotiations for the purchase of the Spanish company. Everything seemed to be progressing smoothly until June, when Cooke significantly reduced its offer, which was rejected by Abanca, leading to the withdrawal.

Since then, things haven't improved much. In July, various reports indicated that both companies had returned to square one. According to the reports, there were "significant price discrepancies" following investigations into the sales prospectus published by Pescanova. Additionally, there were reported "inconsistencies" regarding the external audit conducted by Cooke. Both companies chose not to provide further information on the transaction's status. However, it was never specified that despite negotiations being at a standstill, the debate was ongoing.

About Nueva Pescanova

Nueva Pescanova is a leading Spanish multinational company in the seafood industry. Thus, they have a strong presence across the entire value chain, encompassing fish farming, processing, and distribution. In addition, they have operations in 80 countries, working with over 70 different species of fish and seafood.

About Cooke

Cooke is a family-owned and managed company that has operated a sustainable aquaculture business in Canada for over 35 years. The Cooke family of companies has diversified operations in Europe. Among them are Scotland, Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain/Grupo Culmarex, and Bioriginal Europe/Asia in The Netherlands.

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