BUSINESS

Friday is D-Day for Marinopoulos

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Business, Economy

A court in Athens will on Friday morning determine whether or not the Marinopoulos supermarket chain has breathed its last. The court will decide whether it will accept or reject the injunction application of Greece’s biggest retailer against its creditors.

All signs point to the court granting the historic supermarket company a new lease on life, given the apparent consent to that effect by the state and the banks, to which Marinopoulos owes a significant share of its debts.

Its suppliers are split into two camps: Those wishing to show Marinopoulos no tolerance as they are against the protection of the company from its creditors, and those who believe its sudden death will leave them with virtually nothing to expect in the way of the money owed to them.

It would be desirable if an injunction could be issued on Friday, opening the way for all parties involved to reach an agreement in the next couple of weeks for the streamlining of the company.

Reports said on Thursday that a representative of rival supermarket chain Sklavenitis will present a letter in court today expressing the firm’s intention to participate in the streamlining of Marinopoulos. Sklavenitis had reached an agreement a few months ago to cooperate with its rival.

Marinopoulos issued a statement on Thursday assuring that its employees’ salaries will not be affected by the decision expected on Friday by the court. It said that the same goes for any debts to departed staff from layoffs or voluntary exits. It also said that both Marinopoulos SA and its subsidiaries will make every effort to preserve all jobs in the group.

The Marinopoulos case is being closely watched by everyone with an interest in the Greek economy as it not only concerns the company’s 13,000 employees and their families, but also the more than 50,000 people who work for the chain’s suppliers, which are set to lose the money due to them, to say nothing of the owners of the properties that house the supermarkets.

The size of the Marinopoulos debt is such (over 1.8 billion euros, or 1 percent of the country’s domestic product) that a sudden death would be a major blow for the Greek economy.

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