The owners of Makro/Metro‘s Belgian branch have applied for protection against creditors. They admit in as many words that a continued existence for the chain is no longer an option.
In need of judicial aid
Bronze Properties, which has been the new owner of the seventeen stores since June, says that it wants to keep all options open this way. “This petition makes it possible to transfer all or part of the company’s activities to another entity and to safeguard jobs”, Belgian newspaper De Tijd quotes Bronze’s statement.
The news does not come as a surprise, as Bronze Properties is known to be a specialist in restructuring. The Belgian branch of the German retail giant has been loss-making for years. Last year it ‘only’ made a loss of 42 million euros, its best result in ages. At the time of the acquisition, Bronze had said it would take its time to investigate all options for the future.
Chopped into pieces
Enough time seems now to have passed: in a statement, the new owners say that “the current structure of the activities of Makro Cash & Carry Belgium and the financial difficulties the company is facing pose a threat to the continuity of the company”. There would even be not enough money around for a normal reorganisation and dismissal round.
Bronze Properties now wants to chop the company up into pieces and sell individual parts, because there are no takeover candidates for the whole. The court still has to approve the application, however, but it does not approve bankruptcy may follow. For the time being, the shops would remain open, although protests from the trade unions are to be expected. All of this means that Makro and Metro in Belgium will not continue to exist in their current form.