Alleged Foreign Interests buy Important Holder of Russian Pollock Capture Quotas CJSC ROLIZ

August 4, 2011 11:09

All at once there emerged plenty of news about owner change of a Vladivostok fishing company named ROLIZ. Quite a number of Russian companies with attractive capture quotas are open for sale but this is one of the cases when the deal was actually made, according to Russian Fish Insider Report published by http://www.megafishnet.com/.

Roliz started operations in "new Russia" and currently owns 3 large (BATM class) trawlers: Archer, Ardatov, Amadei. The firm owns about 4% of squid quota, about 3% of Pollock (roughly 27 000MT in 2011), 5.5% of Olutorsky herring, 1.3% of Okhotsk herring, and token quotas for crabs and prawns. In A season 2011 the company produced 873MT of pollock roe only. The buyer is Murmansk fishing holding Karat, but specialists relate the deal with one of the holding members - Ocean Trawlers - a Norwegian registered company with actual head office in Hongkong and Russian managers. The situation is worth clarification, and we asked our insider experts what they think about the deal which in fact took place 2 months ago.

Plenty of emotions are in media discussions. People speak that joining Roliz and Ocean Trawlers would improve fish supply to Europe, or that OT would help to get MSC certification for Russian pollock. Some people also mention that such a deal is related with Primorye Governor Darkin plans to leave the region (his wife was the major partner in Roliz). All is nonsense. All the documents for MSC have been passed long ago, and actually OT prepared their own ones basing on Russia's Pollock Association experience and learning lessons from their mistakes. They were well in process, as Kamchatka UTF is a part of their holding and a member of Vladivostok-based Pollock Association at the same time. Roliz had very good partners in Europe, but was unable to produce anything for this market. And the company was open for sale for 5 years at the very least. Roliz, BAMR, and many other large and small Russian fishing companies are open for sale almost all the time, since God knows when. In 2006 both companies were almost bought by Okeanrybflot, there were a lot of rumors about negotiations with various companies, first of all Pacific Andes. However, nobody was ready to BUY anything at reasonable prices. Usually proposed prices were close to salvage value of vessels, and naturally the sellers couldn't agree.

So, important thing is not that ROLIZ was sold, but the fact it has been bought. This time the price was right - US$M50. Investors openly expressed their interest to a fishing company, and paid almost twice as much as allegedly proposed a year ago. We'll learn if it was a one-time deal or a tendency looking at Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet soon up for privatization.

It's difficult to say whether the buyer is Swiss, Norwegian, Hongkong, or wherever else. In fact, the major shareholders are Russian by origin, and probably still keep Russian passports. During the last 20 years situation in this country stimulated many businessmen to register their companies overseas. Even the well known Hongkong-based Holding Pacific Andes owns their Russian assets through nominal owners who are Russians living in this country. Probably, in some future there will be laws regulating this, but this is not the industry problem. Today fishery is a "strategic industry" in Russia, hence a blocking package in a fishing company can be bought with a special permission of the Government only. Nobody has tried as yet.

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