Sealord has sold its Argentinian fishing business Yuken SA, ending an unhappy and expensive chapter in the Nelson and Auckland-based group's history.
The sale was to an undisclosed Argentinian buyer and Sealord said the details would remain confidential. It took effect on August 16.
Chief executive Graham Stuart said he was pleased the sale had gone through after an extensive process that lasted more than two years.
"During this time we had engaged with a number of international parties who had expressed interest in buying Yuken but in the end Argentina proved to be too tough a proposition for foreign investors. Without a sale we were staring down the barrel of Yuken having to file for voluntary bankruptcy."
A month ago Stuart said the Yuken writedown would be between $35 million and $45m and that if a buyer could be found, the sale would be for a nominal sum.
The Argentinian business, bought in 2001, also caused a $10m writedown and incurred a $7m operating loss last year and a $5m operating loss the year before.
The group would be profitable again once the "dead weight" of the Argentine venture was gone, Stuart said then. Getting out of Argentina with or without a buyer was "a one-off and it cuts it for good".
During the month he has carried out a roadshow to visit Sealord's 57 shareholding iwi, who jointly own 50 per cent of the group, explaining why there would be no dividend this year, a marked contrast to the $16 million divided annually with the other 50 per cent shareholder, Nissui of Japan in recent years, and a beneficial share issue last year.
- © Fairfax NZ News