September 12, 2013 / 3:17 PM / 4 years ago

Spain's insolvent fish firm Pescanova names new chairman

MADRID, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Spain’s Pescanova chose Juan Manuel Urgoiti as chairman of the insolvent fishing firm on Thursday, after the company’s former head stepped down earlier this year amid charges of insider trading and falsifying information.

Manuel Fernandez de Sousa was removed in April from the helm of the company he had run for more than three decades. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Urgoiti sits on the board of directors of retailer Inditex and is a former chairman of Banco Gallego.

Pescanova, a household name in Spain, went bankrupt after its auditors said managers had attempted to hide debt, becoming one of the most high-profile casualties in a year in which Spanish company failures have reached record levels.

A KPMG audit had showed the company owed 3.6 billion euros ($4.8 billion), more than double what was stated when it filed insolvency proceedings, making it one of Spain’s biggest ever non-property related bankruptcies.

The insolvency process could take months or years, ending either in liquidation or a plan to re-float the business.

The group’s creditors include Spain’s biggest banks as well as state bank restructuring fund the FROB, which nationalised the savings banks that lent Pescanova hundreds of millions of euros.

Also on Thursday a proposal to cut the board to seven from 11 made by Catalan beer company Damm, with 6.18 percent of Pescanova, Luxempart, with 5.83 percent, and Iberfomento, with 3.39 percent, was passed with 70.8 percent of shareholder votes, a source close to the new board said.

The new board aims to speed up talks with creditor banks. ($1 = 0.7518 euros) (Reporting by Carlos Ruano; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Clare Kane and David Holmes)

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