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Porvenir Court declares the bankruptcy of Nova Autral and salmon company will appeal the resolution

This Tuesday, the Court of Letters and Guarantee of Porvenir declared the bankruptcy of the salmon farm Nova Austral. This after two suppliers (Comercializadora Nutreco Chile Limitada and Salmonifera Dalcahue Limitada) challenged the judicial reorganization agreement, dissatisfied with the payment clauses of the agreement, which allowed the viability of the company that operates in Magallanes.

The resolution, signed by Judge Pablo Aceituno, ordered the opening of the bankruptcy liquidation process, requesting the Superintendence of Insolvency and Re-engagement to nominate a liquidator, accompanying the background of the three main creditors.

However, Nova Austral, advised by lawyer Ricardo Reveco, partner of Carey, in the next few hours will present an appeal to the resolution of the court of first instance, elevating the case to Court of Appeals of Punta Arenas.

Those familiar with the process described the salmon farm’s setback as serious, not only because it is a setback in its plan to provide continuity to the company, but also because it could impact the tax benefits it obtains through the Navarino Law. The Norwegian-owned salmon company provides employment in Magallanes to more than 3,000 people directly and indirectly.

Despite the above, for Nutreco the agreement is illegal, since it remits 100% of the credit and increases the guarantees that existed, which, it accuses, causes a difference between the two suppliers of salmon feed, declaring Ewos as “ essential” and removes Nutreco from that condition. The credit claimed by the company amounts to US$23 million. For its part, Salmonifera Dalcahue is a family business and demands payment of a debt of only $150 million: it has a valid credit for a business that both salmon farms did.

Nutreco is represented by lawyer Fernando Urrutia, partner of Cariola, and Salmonifera Dalcahue is advised by lawyer Jose Luis Díaz.

In its resolution, the court concluded that the Nova Austral Judicial Reorganization Agreement “generates an unfounded inequality, which becomes illegal, constituting a property deprivation for those affected.” To do this, it is based on article 64 of the Insolvency and Re-entrepreneurship Law, which allows that in the proposed reorganization agreements “more favorable conditions can be established for some of the creditors of the same class or category, provided that the Other creditors of the respective class or category agree with a Special Quorum, which will be calculated only on the amount of the credits of the latter.”

The judge determined that the “differential treatment is observed in the possibility of financing working capital and goes beyond the framework of article 64 of the Insolvency Law.” He also noted that the agreement “generates arbitrary, unjustified, unfair or disproportionate discrimination and is in accordance with the aforementioned article 64, facilitating the economic rescue of the Nova Austral company,” he noted.

On January 17, 2024, the Porvenir Court of Letters and Guarantee approved the company’s reorganization plan.

The agreement was approved by 92% of the creditors, and by 86% of the preferred creditors. Nutreco would have voted against the proposal. The company began the process in the middle of last year, to restructure its liabilities, and ensure its operational continuity.

The performance of the company, which has operated in the Magallanes region and Chilean Antarctica for more than 15 years, has been affected by a series of factors, which have prevented the normal development of its business. Among them, the harsh sanctions he received from the Superintendence of the Environment (SMA), he explained in his reorganization request.

In the letter at that time, Nova Austral indicated that its liabilities total US$559 million ($449,636 million). The three largest creditors are: Nordic Trustee (US$415 million); DNB Bank (US$69 million) and Skretting (US$23 million).

The “hardening of the supervisory standard”; the lack of recognition of the company’s operational improvements”; The “invalidation of authorizations to relocate the cultivation center” and the “health emergency resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic in Chile” were the reasons that led the company to its reorganization.

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