Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  16 Sep 2012

FISHING: Is There Still A Buyer For Marpro?


Recent Western Cape Business News

LAST year reports surfaced around Foodcorp, one of SA’s largest food companies, selling its fishing units for around R600 million.

The potential buyer was never identified – although rumours suggested it was an empowerment consortium that was not currently in the fishing business.

While no official statement updating or clarifying the deal status has been issued by Foodcorp, it seems clear the potential sale of the fishing units has fallen away. The question now is whether these are still for sale?

Foodcorp’s Marpro division specialises in deep sea fish products - including monk, kingklip and skin on fillets. It also exports live west coast rock lobster to China and Japan. The Glenryck division catches and cans pilchards.

The potential sale of the fishing unit followed a sea change at Foodcorp when main empowerment shareholder Pamodzi sold out its majority share in early 2010.

Without sufficient black ownership there have been rumblings (including a well publicised appeal court case) that suggest Foodcorp’s fishing division could have its catch allocation reduced in line with its new ownership structure (which sees a European asset management company as the biggest shareholder with over 44%) .

Finding black investors for the fishing industry is no easy task – but it might not be amiss to speculate that Brimstone (which controls Sea Harvest and a portion of Oceana) and Sekunjalo (the biggest shareholder in Premier Fishing) could be potential suitors for all or parts of Foodcorp’s fishing unit.

No doubt acquisitive and financially muscular Oceana would also be keen to drop a line at Marpro. Oceana has worked hard at bolstering its empowerment status.

If Marpro is no longer considered a black controlled venture a bid by Oceana might not be foiled by regulations that preclude a less empowered fishing company from buying a more empowered business.

Then again Oceana does appear to be taking an awfully long time to get the green light from the bureaucrats around its recently proposed acquisition of Lusitania Fishing.

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