A landmark Premier Fishing empowerment deal, Newsline

CAPE TOWN – Premier Fishing SA (PFSA), a division of JSE listed Group Premier Fishing and Brands Limited, one of the largest black-owned, managed and fully transformed fishing companies in South Africa is issuing shares to its 900 employees.

In one of the largest transactions of its kind in the country and the fishing sector, PFSA will be transferring 30percent of the company shares in a vendor financed transaction of which 20percent would be attributed to an employee share trust and 10percent to a BEE consortium through a special purpose vehicle.

The initiative will benefit employees who reside in Saldanha Bay, Cape Town, Hout Bay, Gansbaai, and Port Elizabeth. The company is hopeful that the conditions precedent in the memorandum of understanding outlining this transaction will be completed in the next two weeks.

In announcing the deal, Rushaan Isaacs, the first black female chief executive in the country’s fishing industry, said: “The group has always had a close relationship with its employees and the communities in which it operates, and now together, we will be growing the group and sharing the profits of our combined efforts through this share scheme. I am delighted we now have the opportunity to be shareholders in PFSA and be custodians of its brand and business into the future.”

The Premier Fishing and Brands is involved in commercial fishing, fish processing, marketing and sales to local and international clients. Its diversified product basket includes niche products (lobster, octopus, squid, pilchards, anchovies, hake, and horse mackerel) and it manufactures Seagro, an environmentally-friendly fertiliser product.

The group also manages sustainable aquaculture farming through its abalone farm.

PFSA is expanding, and has one of the largest and most advanced environmentally friendly abalone farms, situated in Gansbaai, with an annual production output of about 190 tons, which it markets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

PFSA has invested more than R220million in the existing farm to ensure the sustainability of the abalone sector. While most other farms have, unfortunately, been retrenching staff, PFSA has employed an additional staff complement to maintain its abalone exports during the Covid-19 period.

Moesina Anthony (aunty Sienie), a long-standing employee (35 years), said: “I am so excited to become a shareholder in the company in which I have enjoyed working many years. It is a company that clearly cares about its people, and does what it says it is going to do. ”

Valentine Dzvova, chief executive of Premier Fishing’s major shareholder, African Equity Empowerment Investments, said the share scheme was “an excellent display of doing good business whilst empowering and rewarding the employees and communities that help Premier realise its excellent business results.”

“The group is a proponent of the government’s transformation agenda,” she said. “When a company takes care of its employees and its communities, the financial success will follow.”

Dzvova said PFSA was already one of the most transformed companies in the sector, as it had been a BEE level-1 entity for two years, with 90percent of its suppliers being black-owned SMMEs.

Isaacs said PFSA was trading well considering the trading challenges it had faced this year, and the empowerment deal would provide employees and fishing community members with a say in the strategic direction of the growth of the company in the future.

Premier is rooted in the communities, and despite its extensive transformation credentials, it has traditionally benefited less proportionally from the Fishing Rights Allocation Process. The company has always taken a strong stance on ethical trading and transformation in the industry and is well regarded as having the safety and training of its people as a key priority.

BUSINESS REPORT