Vending machine specialist Autobar has been acquired by its creditors, who will be moving its London headquarters to Dordrecht while changing its name to Pelican Rouge.
Debt restructuring finalized
Autobar had huge debts, up to 900 million euro, but now its owner (CVC) has struck a deal with its creditors. The investment company bought the coffee, soup, candy and soda machine supplier for 1.2 billion euro in 2010, but barely reaped the benefits from it.
The creditors have now exchanged the majority of the debt for shares and future payments will be postponed to the end of the duration, with the option to exchange non-paid debt (with interest) for shares once again. This should give the company enough breathing space, so that it can meet its commitments and create growth again.
Name change mirrors Belgian roots
The debt restructuring will be accompanied by a relocation and a name change: its new owners will move the head office to Dordrecht in the Netherlands, the location of its coffee roasting facility.
It will be renamed Pelican Rouge, like the similarly-named coffee brand "Roode Pelikaan" that was founded in 1863 in Antwerp. Autobar was its commercial partner both in Belgium and the Netherlands. "The name change demonstrates our intention to focus on quality coffee, quality service and quality delivery throughout the entire customer experience, and to put the customer at the heart of everything we do", CEO Alain Beyens said. He wants to see the company grow in every sales channel of the premium coffee market.
Former Autobar is active 11 European countries and manages more than 255,000 machines at 150,000 customers. All in all, it employs 5,000 people, 210 in Belgium and over 800 in the Netherlands. In Belgium alone, the group prepares more than 125 million cups of coffee on a yearly base - at some 4,500 customers.