BUSINESS

Selonda Aquaculture forced to go into receivership

By Evgenia Tzortzi and Dimitra Manifava

Thirty-three years after its foundation and having been one of the Greek fish-farming sector’s biggest players, Selonda Aquaculture SA is about to pass into the hands of its creditors.

After months of negotiations with banks and several failed attempts to merge the firm with Dias Aquaculture and then Nireus, Selonda has come to an agreement with the banks that includes the capitalization of outstanding loans of 50 million euros and the issue of corporate bonds up to 105 million euros. It is believed that a later effort will be made to merge Selonda with Nireus, according to sources from both the latter and the credit sector.

The agreement to restructure Selonda is expected to be approved by an extraordinary general shareholders meeting on July 24, while a general outline regarding the future of the company will be presented at Thursday’s regular general shareholders meeting.

Among the issues on the agenda for July 24 will be a decrease in the firm’s share capital and a reduction of the nominal value of every existing share with voting rights in order to offset accumulated losses and/or create a special cash reserve of the same amount. Then the share capital will be increased with the capitalization of outstanding bank loans, cash injections by one or more strategic investors, the issue of new common shares and the abolition of existing shareholders’ preferential rights.

After the restructuring, the holdings of the banks that currently own 21.09 percent of Selonda will exceed 70 percent. It remains unknown whether the other major shareholders will continue to have a stake in the company: They are Kakha Bendukidze, the head of Dutch fund Linnaeus Capital Partners, with 19.05 percent, Georgios Grippiotis with 13.14 percent, and Marven Enterprises Company Ltd with 9.25 percent.

Within this month the other major player in the fish-farming sector, Nireus, is also expected to reach an agreement with the banks. Sources say the plan is for loans of 50-60 million euros to be transformed into company shares, resulting in the reduction of stakes held by Bendukidze and Aristidis Belles to between 5 and 8 percent.

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