A new day, two recent developments regarding the soap opera on the bankruptcy of fashion group FNG. Three Belgian companies from the tree structure have been declared bankrupt. Yet, the Swedish Nordic Capital is allegedly trying to take over one of the companies and reclaim the Ellos Group.
From owner to creditor
A quick recap: Nordic used to own Ellos Group but sold it in 2019 to the – then – highly ambitious FNG. In doing so, FNG aimed to expand from a Benelux group into a group covering the whole of Europe. Soon, however, it turned out they bit off more than they could chew and FNG ended up in – as it turned out later – insurmountable financial difficulties.
Several properties were sold (a piece of Brantano was taken over by vanHaren), but no buyer was found for the rest, leaving FNG with just the Ellos Group. The fashion group reached an agreement with Nordic Capital to pay 100 million euros as a lump sum buyout and in exchange for outstanding claims. That turned out to be too high for FNG, which filed for bankruptcy last week. Through the agreement, Nordic Capital had suddenly become FNG’s largest creditor but was in danger of ending up empty-handed.
According to Belgian newspaper De Tijd, Nordic is now trying to reclaim the still very prosperous Ellos by acquiring FNG Nordic – one of the subsidiaries of FNG NV. That seems to be the safest strategy for the Swedes because they might never be able to recover most of the amount they are owed in the event of bankruptcy.
(Update) Meanwhile, news has reached us that the bankruptcy of the parent company FNG and two other subsidiaries – though not FNG Nordic – has been declared today. What this entails for Nordic Capital’s new move is still a matter of guesswork. To be continued, as they say, without a doubt…