FNG wants to avoid bankruptcy in order to restart its Swedish e-commerce company Ellos Group. "If the relaunch does not take place, there is a threat of value destruction," says CEO Paul Lembrechts.
"Intensive and constructive discussions"
Ellos Group is the only remaining operational activity from the FNG brand portfolio. The company sells and supplies interior products and clothing in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Quarter after quarter, the e-commerce platform posted strong figures: adjusted EBITDA grew by 33 percent over the past 12 months to 30.4 million euro (until September 2020, compared to 2019) and it is expected that the fourth quarter of 2020 will surpass all previous quarters.
"Management analyses show that both the number of customers and the expenditure of existing customers continue to increase, two important parameters for the growth of the e-commerce platform," says Lembrechts in a press release. According to him, a restart is the best option: "In the interest of all stakeholders, such as creditors, shareholders, employees and clients of Ellos, we have already requested and obtained the appointment of an intermediary. The strong results of Ellos are an opportunity. They can form the basis for a relaunch. There are now workable ways to do that".
The Supervisory Board of FNG NV wants to seize the momentum of Ellos Group to opt for a scenario of value creation. Intensive and constructive discussions are taking place with the consortium of banks and with the private equity fund Nordic Capital that sold Ellos Group to FNG NV. At a General Meeting of Shareholders, the Board now wants to provide more details and inform the shareholders about the 2019 financial statements and other management matters.
In a reaction, the banks have come up with a proposal to rescue the remains of FNG: they are prepared to grant a temporary loan, with a view to an IPO of Ellos, but at a stranglehold of 12.5%... per quarter. In other words, it would be at an interest rate of 50% a year, De Standaard knows.
As an additional condition, the banks stipulate that the proceeds of the IPO of Ellos must be divided between them (about 45%) and Nordic Capital, the former owner of the online platform which has still not been fully paid for the acquisition. The banks have agreed to drop their 200 million euro claim in that case.