The State is not willing to grant an advance to the wealthy shareholder

While the commercial court of lilac must decide, on Wednesday, on the plan for the continuation of the activity by Camaieuits shareholder, the Financière immobilière bordelaise (FIB), of the wealthy businessman michel ohayon, asked the State for “an advance” to complete his plan. Along with AFP, the Ministry of Economy does not see this request with good eyes.

“It would be a state intervention under a reimbursable advance,” said Wilhelm Hubner, president of Hermione People and Brands (HPB), the IBF’s distribution arm. A request that is not “realistic”, believes Bercy. “The shareholder asks the State to take charge of more than two thirds of the contribution necessary to finance the takeover plan, in addition to the abandonment of all existing public debts,” details the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which It adds that the State cannot “in any case replace the shareholders”.

A plan based on a real estate transaction

Put in suspension of payments on August 1, with debts of 240 million euros, including some 70 million unpaid rent, Camaïeu will be set at his destination, on Wednesday, with the decision of the commercial court. The shareholder’s plan foresees the closure of 208 stores and the loss of some 500 jobs out of some 2,600.

“Everyone knows that there is an urgency” to save Camaïeu, which HPB “is the only one” that can do it, after the withdrawal of several bid candidates, including the US fund Gordon Brothers, stressed Wilhelm Hubner. If the stimulus package is rejected by the trade court, the other option would be liquidation, he said.

Michel Ohayon, ranked 104th among the richest in France by challenges, with an estimated assets of 1,100 million euros, do you really need an advance from the State? Obviously not, but the financing of his plan for Camaïeu is based on a real estate operation that will bring him great benefits. It has the sale to the FIB of the company’s headquarters and warehouse in Roubaix for 14 million. The FIB will be responsible for reselling everything for an expected amount “from 55 to 63 million euros.”

As of August 2020, the FIB had taken over 511 of the 634 Camaïeu stores in France and some 2,600 employees out of more than 3,100, as part of a transfer directed by the commercial court. The new management had given itself two years to rebalance the company. But operating losses reached 93 million on 333 million billings during the sixteen month period since the acquisition.

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