SOUTH AFRICA – Oceana Group Ltd, the South African fishing company has announced that its acting CEO Imraan Soomra has been appointed as its chief executive effective 1 August 2018.

Soomra was confirmed interim CEO in February this year after Francois Kuttel resigned as the CEO to pursue his bid of buying a majority stake in the firm’s Daybrook Fisheries fleet in the US.

Kuttel’s resignation followed a committee decision by Oceana identifying Kuttel as the best man for the job of taking over the remaining 75% stake.

Daybrook fleet is owned by Westbank Fishing, a supplier to Oceana’s US-based fishmeal and fish oil processing operation and in which Oceana already owns a 25% stake.

Oceana was unable to secure the Westbank deal directly due to American Fisheries Act requiring that US-based fishing vessels be majority owned and operated by US citizens.

Earlier this year, the firm said Makimry Patronus, a company majority owned by Kuttel, would proceed with a deal to acquire 75% of Westbank raising concerns of possible corruption.

Soomra, a chartered accountant was Oceana’s chief financial officer since July 2013 and worked closely with the previous chief executive, Francois Kuttel, in growing shareholder value.

He held the position of Financial Director of Netcare Limited’s Hospital Division from 2010 to 2013 and prior to that he was with MultiChoice from 2003 until 2010 as Head of Channels at SuperSport International as well as Financial Director of M-Net and SuperSport.

Oceana supplies canned pilchards in Southern Africa and throughout the continent and Soomra’s appointment ensures a seamless transition and consistency in the group’s strategic direction.

At the same time, Trevor Giles, a qualified chartered accountant has been appointed as interim chief financial officer until a suitable candidate is found.

In 2015, the South African company revealed plans to invest US$13mn in two new facilities in Angola and Namibia for upgrading and increasing capacity of its fishmeal production facility.