Premier Fishing SA will transfer 30% of the total issued share capital of the company, to its broad-based black economic empowered employees, its fishing communities, and others active in women’s empowerment.
Premier Fishing SA, a division of JSE listed Group Premier Fishing and Brands Limited, established in 1952, is one of the largest black-owned, managed and fully transformed fishing companies in South Africa.
Pioneer in transformation
A pioneer in transformation in the fishing industry, today, Premier announced it is issuing shares to its more than 900 employees. In one of the largest transactions of its kind in the country and the fishing sector, Premier will be transferring 30% of the company shares in a vendor financed transaction of which 20% would be attributed to an employee share trust and 10% to a BEE consortium through a special purpose vehicle, which would 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 MOU outlining this transaction will be completed in the next two weeks.
In announcing the deal, Rushaan Isaacs, also the first black female CEO in the country’s fishing industry, says: “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 that we now have the opportunity to be shareholders in Premier and be custodians of its brand and business into the future.”
Niche products and sustainable aquaculture
The Premier Fishing and Brands Group is predominantly involved in commercial fishing, fish processing, marketing and sales to local and international clients. Premier’s diversified product basket with niche products (lobster, octopus, squid, pilchards, anchovies, hake, and horse mackerel and manufactures Seagro, an environmentally-friendly fertiliser product.). The Group also manages a sustainable aquaculture farming through its abalone farm.
Premier Fishing SA is currently expanding, and has one of the largest and most advanced environmentally friendly abalone farms, which is situated in Gansbaai, with an annual production output of approximately 190 tons, which it markets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Premier has invested more than R220 million in the existing farm to ensure the sustainability of the abalone sector. While most other farms have, unfortunately, been retrenching staff, Premier has employed an additional staff complement to maintain its abalone exports especially during the COVID-19 period.
Moesina Anthony (aunty Sienie) a long-standing employee (35 years) says: “I am so excited to become a shareholder in the company in which I have enjoyed working many years at. It is a company that clearly cares about its people, and does what it says it is going to do, and as a member of the Group, I am excited at the opportunity to own shares in a company I know well. I look forward to receiving my shares once the details have been confirmed.”
Valentine Dzvova, chief executive of Premier Fishing’s major shareholder, African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI), says 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. When a company takes care of its employees and its communities, the financial success will follow,” she says.
Dzvova also says Premier Fishing was already one of the most transformed companies in the sector, as it had been a BEE level-1 entity for two years, with 90% of its suppliers being black-owned SMMEs.
Isaacs says 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 benefitted less proportionally from the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP). 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.