The Commercial Tribunal in Antwerp has, as expected, confirmed Sligro as new owner of the Belgian branch of wholesaler Metro. Local player Van Zon gets to buy the Evergem (Ghent) branch. But what about Makro?
47 million euros
The verdict is in: the combination of Sligro and Van Zon has been approved as acquirers of Metro in Belgium. Last Friday, the prospective buyers and the unions had already met in court to explain their visions for the future of Makro Cash & Carry Belgium.
The court had already stated that it thought Sligro had made the best bid. The combination with Van Zon (for the Evergem branch) was deemed to offer the best chances, according to the delegated judge. The court has now followed Friday’s advice, as was to be expected.
Sligro will pay over 47 million euros for its wholesale competitor, offering 506 employees “a sustainable future”. The Dutch wholesaler will also take over “around 100 employees” from the shared Makro/Metro headquarters. The Dutch company will acquire nine of the eleven Belgian Metro Stores: the only exceptions are Antwerp-North (but the foodservice wholesaler will take over all the employees) and Evergem (which will go to Van Zon).
The Belgian market authority had already indicated it would allow the takeover, although the formal investigation has yet to be completed. During the court-supervised restructuring process, the watchdog has “invested a great deal of time and energy in investigating the market consequences”, Sligro says. Therefore, the authority had “issued an ‘unconditional decision to grant an exemption’, which means that this transaction can go ahead immediately”.
For its cash&carry sibling Makro, on the other hand, there is no news yet. As there were no valid bids for that chain, the court is not ruling on this matter. It is up to the current owners to decide how to proceed after New Year. Either the chain will file for bankruptcy in January, or owner Bronze Properties will arrange the discontinuation itself.