A bid for Makro Cash & Carry submitted earlier this week was rejected, leaving no prospect for Makro’s 1,400 employees. Sligro will save up to 500 jobs in Metro.
On Tuesday, there was a moment of hope for the employees of Makro Cash & Carry Belgium. After that, court officials received five bids for parts of the group. However, the doubts that existed then about the quality of these offers have now been confirmed. According to our information, the agents are rejecting the offer of the French company in the formation, which was the only one to apply for both Makro and Metro. It pledged to save 70 percent of the jobs at risk.
• First day of sale stamp in Makro
The company was assisted by a certain Karel Verschueren, a Flemish man who was born in Duffel, but resides in Switzerland. Research in the Belgian Official Journal shows that Verschueren was sentenced by an appeals court twenty years ago to a two-year suspended prison sentence for, among other things, breach of trust and tax fraud. Since then, he has occasionally appeared as a bidder in the files of companies in difficulty.
The offer, which was said to be very brief, did not meet the tender requirements and was not preserved. For Makro’s approximately 1,400 employees, that development appears to be over. Of the 1,900 jobs at Makro Cash & Carry Belgium, 506 may be saved by Dutch hospitality specialist Sligro. This number includes one hundred jobs in the shared headquarters of Makro and Metra.
Still money for severance pay?
The positive news is that Sligro is offering more than €55 million. This money can be used to pay severance pay to Makro Cash & Carry employees. Any remaining employee assets can then be recovered through a special fund.
Sligro is in the running for ten of Metro’s eleven stores and is firmly committed to taking on all staff. Metro’s Antwerp North branch is not included in the offer as it overlaps with the Sligro branch, which also includes the former ISPC and Java in Belgium. For the same reason, the branch in Evergem is not a priority for Sligro. It is expected to be bought by Limburg hospitality group Van Zon.
Court representatives also received two other offers, including one from Vincent Nolf, director of Makro Cash & Carry Belgium. At first it presented itself as a motivated party, but in the end it only made a token offer for Metro stores. There was also a local offer.
Sale with discounts up to ninety percent
The bids will be presented to the corporate court on Monday and will be heard as early as Friday, December 2. Creditors and other interested parties can then argue for or against the offers. So December seems to be the month in which the company court will decide.
So for Makro stores, it is threatening to be the end of the story. The company started on Monday with moderate sales discounts of twenty percent, but in another brochure they are already talking about seventy percent. What would be left after that would be sold at a 90 percent discount.
Makro Cash & Carry Belgium is expected to file for bankruptcy following the transfer of Metro’s activities. The company court will then appoint administrators who will put the contents of the stores up for sale. Makro started in 1968 with the idea of a cash-and-carry wholesale business aimed at small business owners. Management has not been able to adapt this formula to the changing market.