Still no agreement on Nova Austral debt crisis

Nova Austral crew, Chile

The long-running saga over the troubled Chilean salmon farmer Nova Austral will now drag on into the New Year.

It had been hoped a rescue package could be reached by the end of last week, but the creditors again rejected various proposals in a revised reorganisation agreement filed with a court in Chile.

This is the sixth time since the summer that a chance to save the business has been delayed.

According to an Oslo Stock Exchange announcement on Friday, creditors agreed to give the company the opportunity to file a further revised draft.

The creditors said such a filing must be made by 28 December 2023, so they can then vote on the proposals on 10 January 2024.

Nova Austral is reported to be around US $500m in debt, with the company blaming a “series of factors and exceptional situations” that prevented normal development.

The business employs more than 800 people directly, and more than 2,000 in indirect activities such as transport and the servicing and support of its sites.

Failure to agree a rescue plan would have a huge social impact on the area of southern Chile where the company operates.

Two weeks ago trade unions representing workers at the troubled company sent a message to the Chilean government pleading not to let the business go under.

In a letter to the Chilean president Gabriel Boric, the unions pleaded for his government to remove some of the sanctions placed against the company earlier in the year.

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