A shareholder for Bumble Bee's stalking horse bidder FCF Fishery told a Delaware Bankruptcy court Tuesday FCF should be able to weather inheriting all of Bumble Bee's former debts, which will amount to $650 million (€586.4 million).
Jerry Chong-Yih Chou, who is described in the bankruptcy documents as a shareholder and manager of special projects for FCF, noted those debts still include $17 million (€15.3 million) owed to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
"The stalking horse bidders’ total liquidity is expected to average greater than $75 million (€67. 7 million) for the remainder of 2020," he said. "I believe that the Stalking Horse Bidder will be well capitalized, as FCF is seeking continuity of the businesses and is committed to investing in the company assets over the long term."
He said the Tawianese company currently has annual revenues of $1.7 billion (€1.5 billion) and over $300 million (€270.6 million) of cash on its balance sheet with just $5 million (€4.5 million) of long-term debt.
For several years FCF has supplied Bumble Bee with "nearly all their albacore tuna and a substantial majority of their 'light meat' tuna, including skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye," he said. "One of the world’s largest seafood suppliers, FCF acts as a broker for fishing vessels and contracts directly with over 500 independent tuna fishing vessels located in oceans around the world."
Kent McNeil, executive vice president and CFO of Bumble Bee previously told the court Bumble Bee is worth anywhere between $925.6 million (€835 million) to $930.6 million (€839.5 million) and endorsed FCF as the best bidder for Bumble Bee, given its complicated debt history and involvement in a massive tuna price-fixing scheme.
Taiwan-based FCF Fishery's bid to take over beleaguered Bumble Bee has been named successful by the Delaware Bankruptcy Court on Jan. 20.
According to the court, Bumble Bee also intends to receive transition services from FCF.
Bumble Bee filed for bankruptcy last November in order to enter an "asset purchase agreement" with Taiwan-based FCF Co Ltd, which has agreed to acquire the company’s assets for approximately $925 million (€835.5 million). A US bankruptcy judge had approved a payment agreement plan between the tuna giant FCF on Dec. 31, 2019.
FCF Fishery, which calls itself the largest tuna supplier in the Western Pacific, is a“stalking horse” purchaser for the sale process. A stalking-horse bid sets a floor for any other offers that emerge in a court-supervised sale.
No other qualified bids were received prior to the deadline of Jan. 20, 2020.