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PAFCO Is Not Closing Down Amidst Bumble Bee Foods Bankruptcy Says PAFCO Chairman

Mr Jannif said since the announcement, there has been speculation circulating social media on the possibility of PAFCO closing down its business.
27 Nov 2019 15:08
PAFCO Is Not Closing Down Amidst Bumble Bee Foods Bankruptcy Says PAFCO Chairman
Pacific Fishing Company Limited (PAFCO) chairman Ikbal Jannif.

Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) is not closing down.

This was the affirmation made by PAFCO Chairman Ikbal Jannif during a press conference held in Suva yesterday.

He made this statement amidst Bumble Bee’s announcement on November 21, of the selling off its assets due to bankruptcy.

According to a media statement, Bumble Bee Foods, one of North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood companies, entered into an asset purchase agreement last Friday with affiliates of Taiwan based Fong Chun Formosa (FCF) Fishery Company. They have agreed to acquire the company’s assets for approximately US$925 million (FJ$2,018m).

Mr Jannif said since the announcement, there has been speculation circulating social media on the possibility of PAFCO closing down its business.

“There is a lot of talks that by Bumble Bee going down, PAFCO will close. I want to assure everyone that it is not going to happen,” Mr Jannif said.

“What the public needs to know is that Bumble Bee does not own PAFCO nor is it a shareholder of the company,” he said.

He said despite the low supply of albacore tuna worldwide and Bumble Bee’s bankruptcy, plans are in place to sustain the flow of business within the company.

He also clarified that the ownership of Bumble Bee will not change anything within their operations with PAFCO.

“Bumble Bee will still remain a seafood supplier in the US. They will still need albacore and the fact the ownership has changed will not change its operation or deter the relationship it has with us.”

PAFCO considers other option to keep business flowing

Mr Jannif said PAFCO has plans in place to keep the business flowing despite the low supply of tuna.

“If the processing of Albacore for Bumble Bee starts to decline or they are not able to give us the value that we are expecting from them then PAFCO will start to boost its canned products and start processing Tuna mainly skipjack for its own use rather than depending on processing for Bumble Bee.

“We have already started; we have done trial shipments to the US. We have special products going out in December to continue the flow of the business.

“We are also in the moment talking to other countries that are potential export markets; we cannot mention them at this point.

“PAFCO is well aware of what we need to do and how to diversify and in what area to make up for the short call.”

He said in terms of production, their own production needs to be well ahead of what they produce for Bumble Bee.

“The decrease in the supply of tuna has actually made a drastic impact on how PAFCO has performed financially.

“It has impacted more than 500 staff.

“The current situation is out of our hands, it can’t be resolved by the staff or the workers or the management and the board.

“We are all victims of the circumstances.”

Albacore tuna supply decreases, PAFCO processes Skipjack

Mr Jannif said due to the decline in the supply of albacore species of tuna in the last 10 years, PAFCO will now process skipjack tuna for Bumble Bee on a trial basis.

He said the production of albacore tuna declined from 23 000 metric tonnes several years ago down to 16, 500 metric tonnes this year. He added the worrying thing was there were no signs of change in the trend.

This has also led PAFCO to operate four days a week.

“This lack of supply has put PAFCO’s production under a lot of strain.

“However, due to the shortage, we will start processing skipjack species for Bumble Bee on a trial basis and the first shipment of skipjack had arrived in Suva two days ago.”

He said if the trial is successful in terms of quality and pricing then more skipjack will start coming to Fiji for PAFCO to process for Bumble Bee and this would increase the value of fish PAFCO gets.

“We hope to reach the 23 000 metric tonnes compared to the 16, 500 tonnes we currently get.”

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