Another turbulent week has delivered two more episodes to the saga about Belgian fashion retailer FNG. As an examining magistrate started a legal investigation, a former 'sibling' announced it wants to buy the Brantano chain.
Will the bankruptcy of FNG end in court? A magistrate has started an investigation concerning a range of wrongdoings, including market manipulation, forgery and obstructing an investigation. Suspects would not only be FNG's founding trio (Dieter Penninckx, Anja Maes en Manu Bracke), business newspaper De Tijd reports, but is not yet known who might be suspected. If the allegations lead to actual convictions, those involved may face up to ten years in jail.
Meanwhile, Dutch chain Scapino would be interested in buying FNG's Brantano chain. That is rather remarkable, as both Scapino and Brantano used to be part of the Macintosh retail group until its bankruptcy in 2015. At that stage, founding family Ziengs bought back Scapino, while Brantano was indirectly bought by FNG. Stefaan Van Weyenbergh, who headed Brantano for 29 years before and during its spell as part of Macintosh, would be reappointed Brantano CEO.
As yesterday and today were the deadlines for bidders for FNG's Dutch and Belgian branches respectively, it is expected (or hoped) that any clarity about its future would begin to crystallise this weekend.