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US lawmakers probing alleged malfeasance associated to Blue Harvest chapter

A bunch of Democratic US lawmakers are asking Bregal Companions, the previous non-public fairness dad or mum of New Bedford-based Blue Harvest, to offer solutions by the top of this month about the place funds went from the East Coast whitefish firm’s messy chapter.

Bregal Companions netted an estimated $100 million (€95 million) for itself by promoting off belongings within the two years previous to declaring chapter, Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and Home Consultant Invoice Keating wrote to Bregal’s Managing Companion Charles Yoon on Monday.

“Somewhat than utilizing the cash to settle the money owed owed to the small companies of New Bedford,” the letter argues, “Bregal Companions shielded these belongings from Blue Harvest’s chapter submitting in Delaware and pocketed the earnings for itself, because it has repeatedly finished all through its ‘eight-year roll up of the New Bedford fishing trade.'”

A spokesperson for Bregal didn’t return a request for remark.

The request comes almost 4 years after two of the senators praised Blue Harvest for being awarded a extremely wanted US Division of Agriculture (USDA) groundfish contract for simply over $4.4 million (€3.8 million).

Bregal bought Blue Harvest to C&P Trawlers final November for $12 million (€11.2 million). Mark Felger, co-chair of chapter, insolvency and restructuring with the Massachusetts agency Cozen O’Connor, confirmed with IntraFish the sale closed in December. He mentioned it was unlikely the sale would cowl the entire almost $23 million (€21 million) Blue Harvest owes to senior financial institution lenders, in response to chapter paperwork.

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Felger serves because the authorized counsel for the trustee who oversaw the chapter.

When Blue Harvest filed for chapter final 12 months, the corporate confronted an inventory of collectors, with names spanning greater than 40 pages of court docket paperwork.

The lawmakers are questioning the veracity of Blue Harvest’s incapacity to resolve these excellent money owed, and are in search of solutions in regards to the firm’s belongings previous to the sale.

In a type filed final September with a US court docket in Delaware, Blue Harvest acknowledged it had round $178,846 (€170,106) in belongings, a big drop from what it listed in a voluntary petition filed with the court docket the place it checked off it had between $50 million (€47 million) to $100 million (€93 million) in belongings.

“As well as, unbiased contractors have revealed that Blue Harvest failed to offer severance funds or any further details about its closure,” the lawmakers mentioned.

“Blue Harvest appeared to contribute a part of its remaining funds to hiring a non-public safety workforce to protect its belongings – fishing gear and equipment – to forestall firms with excellent money owed from reclaiming their gear or equipment earlier than they auctioned them off.”

Since its formation, Blue Harvest cycled via quite a few high-profile seafood CEOs, and even switched seafood species — transitioning from scallops to groundfish earlier than closing operations final 12 months.

C&P Trawlers acquired Blue Harvest belongings in Massachusetts, together with eight fishing vessels, 36 federal fishing permits and over a dozen state permits.

Bregal Companions can also be a big shareholder in American Seafoods, the biggest Alaska pollock fishing firm in the US. The funding agency is closing out the fund holding the Alaska pollock fishing big. Bregal, which acquired a stake in American as a part of a debt recapitalization in 2015, has been in search of a purchaser for the seafood firm since 2019.



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