7 candidates battle for bankrupt FNG as stores reopen

The Brantano store in Antwerp. Brantano is retailer FNG's flagship chain.
Photo: RetailDetail

The end game has begun for FNG: seven candidates would be interested in acquiring parts of the Belgian fashion group, which has reopened its stores in order to clear the current stocks.


Deadline: Monday?

It seems like the stores of the chains belonging to FNG (Brantano, CKS, ...) can reopen soon: the trustees say that negotiations with the banks are "constructive" and a stock-clearing sale is being prepared. Earlier, the banks had blocked all attempts to do such a thing in order to force the group to go bankrupt, but now they seem willing to cooperate.


The trustees had hoped to start the reopening last Tuesday, but that proved impossible given the complexity of the case (no fewer than 21 companies that were part of FNG's constructions were declared bankrupt). The new deadline is next Monday, although there is still hope that most stores can reopen on Saturday. The current plan is to keep the stores open for at least a week, possibly longer if necessary to sell all the remaining stock, trustee Geert van Deyck told Belgian business newspaper De Tijd.


Seven candidates

The same source reports that seven candidates have made themselves known, although most are only interested in a number of stores or just stock. Dutch shoe producer Jolo Fashion Group is even only interested in the rights to FNG's brands.


Another name mentioned among the candidates is the German Deichmann group, who had been interested in Brantano before - but pulled out because it thought Brantano's stores were too big in size. Still, its Dutch subsidiary Van Haren has expressed renewed interest as it wants to expand beyond its current nine Belgian shoe stores.


Dutch investor Martijn Rozenboom has also confirmed being interested in an acquisition. It has been rumoured that he would team up with former FNG CEO Dieter Penninckx and possibly with other Belgian entrepreneurs, however it is currently not yet clear if that is correct and - if so - with whom exactly.