"After a few months of negotiations in the search for an industrial partner, Abanca has decided to continue its roadmap in Nueva Pescanova, maintaining ownership." This is how Abanca communicated its decision to go ahead with the company by tackling a new positioning to strengthen its business project. If the alliance had been completed, it would have formed one of the 10 largest fishing groups in the world, but now Nueva Pescanova will continue without Cooke.
"The negotiations team at Abanca and the employees at Nueva Pescanova were excellent to work with through the due diligence process," said Cooke to WeAreAquaculture, wishing the company and its employees much success in the future after the cancellation of the sale.
In a statement released this week, Abanca, the Spanish bank owner of Nueva Pescanova, informed that it has initiated a process of new strategic, financial, commercial, and people positioning for the company. "The objective is to strengthen the seafood company's business project, its competitiveness, and its business model," the release said.
In practice, this means the end of the exclusive negotiations between Abanca and Cooke for the purchase by the Canadian family business of 80% of Nueva Pescanova. The talks, which we first learned about in March, seemed to be going ahead, although not without difficulty. If in June there was talk of problems arising during the financial evaluation of the company, in July everything indicated that the owner and buyer were unable to reach an agreement on the price.
Finally, on October 31, Abanca declared its intention to cease its search for an industrial partner for Nueva Pescanova and to maintain ownership. "The negotiations, carried out with great professionalism by the two interested parties, came to an end by mutual agreement," it said in the announcement. Cooke, for its part, has not issued an official statement, although its Vice President of Public Relations, Joel Richardson, commented on the news for WeAreAquaculture.
"Cooke greatly appreciates having been selected as the preferred bidder of Nueva Pescanova, S. L. and the negotiations team at Abanca and the employees at Nueva Pescanova were excellent to work with through the due diligence process. We wish the company and its employees much success in the future," said Richardson.
As Nueva Pescanova, Abanca also has its headquarters in Galicia, and that is why the entity has made a considerable effort to safeguard the viability of the seafood company and maintain the parent company and its integrated subsidiaries, and its headquarters in the region. The agreement with Cooke guaranteed this point, however, Nueva Pescanova’s owner has finally opted to paralyze - at least momentarily - this divestment project on which it had been working for more than two years.
Regarding the news, the local media Faro de Vigo, picked up the words of the President of Abanca, Juan Carlos Escotet at an event this week in Vigo, Galicia, Spain. "We have decided to park the process of searching for an industrial partner," Escotet said. "We have clearly prioritized strengthening and making possible the strategic plan that now begins," he continued. "There will always be time for that [referring to the sale], it is not our priority. The company is doing well."
Although it has been made official now, according to Abanca, the new strategy for Nueva Pescanova began with the incorporation of Jorge Escudero as the new CEO last September, after the resignation of his predecessor, Ignacio González. At the time of this appointment, the seafood company clarified that with the participation of Abanca as the main shareholder, it maintained its roadmap and continued to advance in the restructuring of the Group, as part of its commitment to consolidate the project.
The bank then reported that Escudero was joining the multinational's team "to lead and enhance the company's growth and increase its profitability." It seems that he is already getting down to work. Nueva Pescanova tackled the adaptation of the staff to the real situation of the company in October, and, at the moment, it is working on the elaboration of the new strategic plan for which Abanca has decided to bet.
Nueva Pescanova is a leading Spanish multinational company in the seafood industry, with a strong presence across the entire value chain, encompassing fish farming, processing, and distribution. With operations in 80 countries, it works with over 70 different species of fish and seafood.
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 around the world. In Europe, these include Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain/Grupo Culmarex, and Bioriginal Europe/Asia in the Netherlands.
Abanca is one of the leading financial institutions in the Spanish market in terms of asset volume. Headquartered in Galicia, it is committed to a new way of banking based on responsibility, reliability, quality, and innovation. It has more than 6,000 employees and a network of around 700 branches in Spain and 10 other countries.