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STP official says “no truth” in rumor of "visiting" interested buyers

But STP employees continue to say it is ‘true’

A Samoa Tuna Processors official has attributed “no truth” to a Samoa News story about a businessman from Samoa and two men from the US who toured the STP facility last week Thursday; and, also says the same of four other interested buyers.

Samoa News reported yesterday that some STP employees told Samoa News that a Samoa-based businessman, from a well known business family in Samoa, along with two American men, from a US based company involved in tuna canning industry, toured the STP facility around 9a.m. last Thursday. The employees said the trio toured all sections of STP before they left.

STP general manager Fa’afoi Palepua called Samoa News yesterday afternoon saying that “no businessman” from Samoa toured the facility and no one is allowed on the facility without permission. He also said that there is “no truth” to such a claim about a businessman from Samoa touring the facility.

However, one STP employees told Samoa News over the weekend that the Samoan businessman and two Americans took more than an one hour touring the STP facility, including the canning operation and work that is carried out on the STP dock.

The employees also told Samoa News that around lunch time last Thursday, a supervisor told them there are four companies interested in taking over STP and Tri Marine is working to make sure there is no major impact on employees during the temporary closure of the STP canning operations.

Palepua also denied this claim as “untrue” — although there are still unconfirmed reports of off-island companies showing interest in taking over STP.

Bellevue, Washington based Tri Marine International announced more than a week ago the indefinite closure of the canning operation of its American Samoa plant effective Dec. 11. STP has a workforce of about 800 and it remains unclear as to how many employees will be affected by the indefinite closure.

Although canning operations will be suspended, Tri Marine said it would continue to operate STP as a logistics hub for the Tri Marine Group. Additionally, Tri Marine is currently evaluating alternatives for the STP facility including outright sale, preferably to a strategic buyer that would minimize job loss, the company said in a press release.