Pescanova has a negative net worth of 1.487 billion euros

Restated accounts unveil Spanish seafood processor’s losses

The revised accounts presented Tuesday by Pescanova for 2011 and 2012 clearly show the extent to which the Spanish multinational seafood processing firm had covered up the parlous state of its finances, which led it to go into receivership in April of this year.

Under the stewardship of Manuel Fernández de Sousa, Pescanova had announced earnings of 50 million euros in 2011 when in fact the company was on the brink of going under. The restated accounts showed a net loss after minority interests of 260.2 million euros for 2011 and 775.6 million in 2012. It had a negative net worth of 790.8 million euros in 2011, which swelled to 1.487 billion euros by the end of 2012.

Fernández de Sousa, along with most of the former board of directors, has been named as an official suspect in an ongoing High Court investigation of the company's financial affairs, and faces possible charges of providing false economic and financial information and insider trading. He has denied any intention of "deceit" in the presentation of Pescanova's accounts when he was chairman.

The restated accounts also showed Pescanova had liabilities of 4.218 billion euros as of the end of last year, up from 4.068 billion the previous year when the company under Fernández de Sousa had declared it owed only 1.744 billion euros. Net financial debt alone at the end of 2012 was 3.247 billion euros.

The restated accounts were presented by Pescanova's long-standing auditor BDP, despite the fact it has also been implicated in the High Court investigation. It had gone through the company's books for 10 years without finding anything untoward and claimed in court that Pescanova's management had kept a parallel system of accounting of which it was unaware.

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