Le Pain Quotidien back in Belgian hands

Le Pain Quotidien back in Belgian hands

The historical shareholders of Belgian bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien have bought out Norac, which owned about a quarter of the shares. Former CEO Vincent Herbert will temporarily take over the management of the company.


First step

Local business newspaper De Tijd reports that French company Norac (owned by entrepreneur Bruno Caron) has sold its stake of 25 % of Le Pain Quotidien's shares to the other shareholders, in proportion to their existing shareholdings. Cobepa, controlled by the family de Spoelberch (AB InBev), thereby increases its stake in the bakery chain from 32 % to 43 %. The remaining shares are distributed among various entrepreneurs, including Emiel Lathouwers (former A.S. Adventure CEO) and founder Alain Coumont.


Early this week, it was already known that a share reshuffle was impending at the bakery and restaurant chain. The shift that has now taken place in the shareholders' structure is only a first step, De Tijd writes.


Future unclear

Along with the shares reshuffle, there is also some movement at the top of the company. Vincent Herbert, who stepped down as CEO at the beginning of last year, is once again taking the place of the American Jerry Gamez. The board of directors and Gamez have had different strategic visions: Gamez' insistance on positioning the chain as a luxury player has pushed the company into debts - even though he also ensured a 5 % sales growth.


What is about to happen is not entirely clear. According to De Tijd, there will certainly be a thorough redrawing of the shareholding. Even a complete sale of the chain is possible. For the time being, the parties involved are being tight-lipped about the future.