Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-Bidvest Namibia, whose fortunes from the fishing sector have declined considerably after its fishing quota was slashed about four years ago, has confirmed ongoing closed-door discussions to sell off its fishing business unit, Bidvest Namibia Fisheries (Bidfish), to Tunacor Fisheries.
It is not yet clear how this sale would affect the hundreds of workers employed in the various fishing companies under Bidfish.
It is understood that Bidvest Namibia, which is listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange, has been having discussions with Tunacor Fisheries for sale of its fishing business unit before the end of the second half of the year. Tunacor is a wholly-owned Namibian fishing entity.
Both Bidvest Namibia and Tunacor Fisheries remain tightlipped regarding the transaction, with a spokesperson at Bidvest Namibia, Nolito Marques, saying the company cannot at this stage make any comments on the discussions regarding the sale.
“Transactions of this nature need to be approved by the Namibia Competitors Commission, hence we cannot comment now,” Marques told New Era last week.
The Bidfish unit comprises Namsov Fishing Enterprises, Namsea, Trachurus Fishing, Twafika, Telelestai and Pesca Fresca. Namsov has been the main fishing company and been getting a substantial quota since 1997. However, the quota was significantly slashed resulting in a lengthy legal battle between the fisheries ministry and Namsov.
When asked whether the deal would include all the fishing companies that resort under Bidfish, Marques indicated that all these logistics are still under discussion.
“However, we cannot comment on it also as all these are still under discussion,” said Marques, whose title is general manager of corporate and public relations for Manica group of companies, which is part of Bidvest Namibia.
Bidvest Namibia has been registering poor financial performances since the reduction in fishing quotas. Its last financial statements for the six months to December 2017 showed that Bidvest Namibia registered an operating profit that was 67.9 percent lower than the previous financial period. Bidfish is said to have reported a first half trading loss of N$8.45 million, compared to a loss of N$9.21m in the same period of the previous year. Bidfish reported turnover of N$465.78 million, down 12.3 percent year on year
“The Namibian economy, as well as the fishing industry and operational challenges continued to weigh on results. The former is not expected to improve in the immediate future,” the group said when it released the six-months results in February.