Although Metro CEO Vincent Nolf claims to be backed by a petition among employees of the ailing foodservice wholesaler, the unions prefer Sligro‘s more financially attractive bid.
The decision on the future of Metro in Belgium is coming closer: on Friday, prospective buyers were able to explain their bids in court. As we exclusively revealed last week, both CEO Vincent Nolf and Dutch wholesaler Sligro want to win most of the eleven Belgian Metro stores, while local players Van Zon and Horeca Totaal hope to acquire one shop each.
Financially, there is a wide chasm between Sligro’s bid and Nolf’s. The Dutch wholesaler offers almost sixty million euros and guarantees 506 jobs. Nolf, while promising to guarantee 628 jobs for a period of three years, has offered barely 110,000 euros. His bid is even lower than the value of Metro’s stock and building in Liège, the only property involved in the restructuring. Therefore, according to the unions, the bid is not credible.
“Nolf is the man under whom Makro Cash & Carry Belgium has finally gone under. He is now asking for confidence, but his bid has no backbone”, Kristel Van Damme of Christian trade union ACV Puls told Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Her socialist counterparts of BBTK are also sceptical and even suggest that the bid does not meet the bidding requirements.
Still, Nolf claims to have the support of quite a few Metro employees, who asked court mandates to preserve the Metro brand, its management and also its customers in a petition. The demise of Metro would be a blow to the hospitality sector, they stated, and “Vincent Nolf and his partners are in the best position to safeguard this.”