BUSINESS

Marinopoulos files for protection

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Business

Marinopoulos, Greece’s biggest supermarket chain, is on the verge of bankruptcy, which will be unavoidable unless all parties involved in the effort to save it reach an agreement in July for its streamlining.

On Tuesday the retailer filed for protection from its creditors, under the threat of confiscations. The Athens court to rule on the injunction measures will hear the case on Friday morning.

Until then, Marinopoulos – an affiliate of French chain Carrefour until the latter departed – will enjoy temporary protection, but if its application is rejected, some 12,500 employees will be left jobless and over 2,000 suppliers and creditors will lose money, creating an unprecedented situation in the Greek market.

The main application for the implementation of the provisions of Article 99 will be examined by the court in September. It does not include a provisional agreement for the Marinopoulos streamlining to be immediately approved by the court, as was the original plan, because the parties involved have failed to reach an agreement on how the supermarket chain will be made sustainable again.

All scenarios are on the table, but the sheer size of the company’s debts, which amount to 1.324 billion euros, will make any decision very difficult. Kathimerini has found out that investors interested in the company (that could refer to domestic chains, including Sklavenitis, or foreign funds) will proceed to due diligence concerning Marinopoulos in the next two weeks in order to decide on their next steps.

The “sudden death” scenario for the Greek market leader would lead to the sale of all its assets, which according to the application filed yesterday amount to 279.14 million euros. These include 67 properties of which 39 have already been used as collateral for loans. The sale will also concern merchandise, as well as stakes in other companies.

The most vulnerable in this story are the chain’s suppliers – mainly small and medium-sized enterprises and not multinationals – as the Marinopoulos dues to them have no collateral. Therefore, out of a total of 722.78 million euros of total debts, they will only get 36.78 million euros. In contrast, the state will get all the money due to it, and the banks 93.46 percent.

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