A consortium of black-owned companies led by the Sea Harvest Group (Sea Harvest) has confirmed the approval from the Competition Tribunal of its transaction to acquire the fishing business of Viking Fishing Holdings Proprietary Limited, whilst Sea Harvest Aquaculture, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sea Harvest, is acquiring 51 per cent of the issued share capital of Viking Aquaculture Proprietary Limited (jointly referred to as the Viking Group). The Competition Tribunal approval, in terms the Competition Act 89 of 1998, comes after the transaction was approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998.
Sea Harvest CEO, Felix Ratheb, says, ‘The approval by the Competition Tribunal is hugely satisfying after many months of hard work by us and the Commission.’
The broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BEE) consortium includes the Vuna Fishing Company Proprietary Limited (Vuna Fishing), Nalitha Investments Proprietary Limited (Nalitha) and the South African Fishing Empowerment Corporation Proprietary Limited (SAFEC). The latter two companies are new entrants to the fishing industry and are wholly black-owned.
Nalitha is led by a seasoned industry managing director, Bonga Mavume, who has extensive experience in the food and fishing industry. Mavume comments, ‘The opportunity to be involved in such a transaction will allow for the growth of truly black entrepreneurs in the fishing industry and will continue to turn the tide towards a transformed sector.’
SAFEC, meanwhile, includes three community based companies from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, as well as a charitable trust. ‘We are grateful for the invitation and the facilitation from Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited (Brimstone) to be part of the consortium. Corporate South Africa has to support B-BBEE if we are to succeed, as a nation, in realising the change that our country needs,’ states SAFEC representative, Maxwell Moss.
‘At Brimstone, as the majority shareholder of Sea Harvest since 2008, we are always looking for the opportunity to assist government’s objectives of transforming the fishing industry into one that contributes to inclusive economic growth and the creation of jobs,’ says Sea Harvest and Brimstone chairman, Fred Robertson.
‘I would like to welcome the Viking people to the Sea Harvest family. We see great potential and opportunity for Viking as part of a bigger and stronger group. We take our hat off to Nico Bacon, a pioneer and entrepreneur in South Africa’s fishing industry, for the significant business he has built over the last 40 years,’ Robertson adds.
‘An investment of this magnitude would never be undertaken without our absolute commitment to the fishing industry and the facilitation of entering new black SMMEs into the sector, which will allow us to spread the benefit further to those who have been previously marginalised. We would like to thank DAFF and the Competition Tribunal for their approvals and we look forward to the long-term sustainability and growth in rural areas through job creation, transformation and local-area development that this transaction will create,’ Robertson concludes.