National Fish & Seafood no longer operates in East Gloucester, having given way — and rise — to Atlantic Fish & Seafood in a recent asset sale.
But that does not mean the federal bankruptcy court or National Fish creditors are done with the former seafood processor.
National Fish, which shut down its operations on May 10 after failing to find a buyer for the financially beleaguered company, stated in May 29 filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston that it owes more than $80 million to all its creditors -- including more than $64 million to secured creditors and $16 million to unsecured creditors.
“The board of directors for the company, having been fully apprised of all of the material facts related to the financial condition of the company, has determined it is in the best interests of the company, its creditors, and other parties in interest, that the company should cease operations and be liquidated under the supervision of the United States Bankruptcy Court,” National Fish’s board of directors stated in a unanimous written consent included in a May 29 filing.
The filings also confirm two other noteworthy items:
National Fish sold its assets to NSD Seafood Inc. — the parent of Atlantic Fish & Seafood -- for $3 million and National Fish’s largest creditor is the Dutch multinational bank Cooperative Rabobank, to which it owes “approximately $73 million in principal (plus interest, fees and other charges).”
National Fish has previously claimed that Pacific Andes International Holdings, which owns 60 percent of National Fish, owes it $30 million the Gloucester seafood processor should have received from the bank as part of a loan. Instead, according to National Fish, Pacific Andes retained the proceeds of the loan in its own accounts.
In one of the May 29 bankruptcy filings, as first reported by the UndercurrentNews fishing industry website, National Fish assigned that debt claim to Cooperatieve Rabobank for recovery.
Making matters even more complicated, Hong Kong-based Pacific Andes itself is immersed in a $1.5 billion bankruptcy. Pacific Andes filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, but the bankruptcy literally stretches around the world.
National Fish also stated in its filings that “after any administrative expenses are paid, no funds will be available” to more than 200 unsecured creditors.
Late on the afternoon of May 10, a Friday, National Fish announced it was closing its operations, effective immediately. The move shuttered the 66,000 square-foot processing plant at 159 E. Main St. and eliminated the jobs of about 180 workers -- most of them seasonal or temporary.
Then on May 22, after the city of Gloucester and the state already had mobilized to help find new jobs for the displaced workers, NSD Seafood emerged to buy the National Fish assets.
Within a week, Atlantic Fish & Seafood had refired operations on the Matlaw’s stuffed clam line at 159 E. Main St. and hired back about 80 workers. It said it planned to hire roughly an equal amount of workers in the coming weeks as it begins to resume production on other frozen seafood lines.
NSD Seafood is a partnership formed by three principals -- Nicholas M. Osgood, Shawn S. Hynes and David N. Hynes -- of the NSDJ Real Estate company that was the landlord of National Fish at 159 E. Main St. facility. It remains the landlord for Atlantic Fish & Seafood.
James V. Montagnino of Gloucester, the fourth partner in NSDJ Real Estate, is not part of NSD Seafood.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.