The fallen Belgian fashion empire FNG has been given a (small) second life, with e-commerce company Ellos as the only remaining activity. The shareholders have agreed to the relaunch plan, in which the founding trio has been completely sidelined.
From crisis manager to executive director
A single board of directors will be at the helm at FNG: Sophie Manigart, Alain Hellebaut, Nadine Vanovenberghe and Sonny Luypaert - all of which are newcomers. They will be joined by Paul Lembrechts, architect of the new structure, who was crisis manager/CEO and will be executive director in the new structure.
Thanks to a settlement with Nordic Capital, the former owner of Ellos, FNG was able to save the Swedish e-commerce company from the implosion of the empire founded by Dieter Penninckx, Anja Maes and Manu Bracke. The intention now is to build on that and give FNG a second life.
Resumption of stock exchange trading
The upcoming key stage is already approaching: at the end of September, the annual accounts for the 2020 financial year must be approved by the shareholders' meeting. Once that is done, the new board wants to apply to stock market regulator FSMA for resuming the stock market trading in FNG. This has been suspended for more than a year. The share was then only worth 3.5 euros, miles away from the highest ever price of 28 euros per share.
Despite that bitter track record, Lembrechts is optimistic about the future, supported by the strong performance of Ellos. "Ellos Group is presenting a magnificent growth report quarter after quarter. In the first quarter of 2021, sales grew by 30 %", he said in a press release. Lembrechts is aiming for a "strategic capital review" at Ellos later this year and is adamant that FNG will continue to play a "strategic role" after that operation.
Cooperation with criminal investigation
"Our new board will install a decisive and sustainable modus operandi. Not only to manage our participation in Ellos Group and to actively help develop the webshop group, but also to correctly handle the current claims and, if necessary, to cooperate in the ongoing criminal investigation," said Lembrechts.