THE largest fishing and processing company in Uruguay, Fripur, has asked for administrative protection or a voluntary concordat with creditors after falling into financial difficulties.
According to MercoPress, Fripur is seeking protection after it was reported that the company reported liabilities of over 70 million dollars, 50 million of which is with two banks.
Employing 1,100 people, Fripur is the leading single fisheries exporting company, with markets in the European Union, United States, Africa and Asia.
The company began running into difficulties after Nigeria cut its croaker imports – a vital contract for Fripur.
Daniel Giladorni, head of Uruguay’s Fisheries Resource Department, explained that whilst Uruguay’s fishing industry on the whole has been facing challenging times, it is not in crisis.
‘The company is prepared to continue under current market conditions but the fishing industry overall is not going through a good moment. This dates back two/three years, but this does not mean the fishing industry is not viable in Uruguay’, he explained.
Giladorni also admitted that a four-month strike by the Uruguayan fishing fleet over a new contract with the unions, coupled with lower catches and lower prices, had not helped matters.
Compared with 2012, Uruguayan fisheries exports are down 15.2 per cent. The haed of the Sea Workers Union, Carlos Fagundez stated that ‘the whole fisheries sector is in trouble, both at domestic and international levels,’ and that this had been exacerbated by an influx of pangasius from Southeast Asia.