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September 10, 2013 8:28 pm
The bankruptcy of Pescanova, a household name in Spain for canned fish, has become one of the country’s biggest financial scandals, with its investors, creditor banks and 10,000 employees left sweating over whether the company will be able to survive.
Having failed to present its accounts for 2012 at the end of February, the company’s shares were suspended, with a forensic accounting investigation later revealing that it had been housing hidden debts totalling at least €3.3bn in subsidiaries across the world.
At the same time Manuel Fernández de Sousa, the company’s then executive chairman and son of its founder, acknowledged that he had sold half of his then 15 per cent stake between December and this February, prompting an investigation into alleged market abuse by the Spanish stock market regulator.
Mr Fernández de Sousa said that he had acted solely in the interests of the company, selling shares to lend money back to it, and had not committed any wrongdoing. A Spanish court has since requested he post guarantees against future claims from investors who have lost money.
Bankers from over 100 Spanish and international lenders to the company were left astounded by the bankruptcy and revelations of the scale of its debts. They are facing severe losses on the debt as the company’s investors prepare to vote over who will lead refinancing negotiations.
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