FNG announced this morning that the group will use the judicial reorganization procedure to reorganize its Belgian activities. The proposed restructuring also implies an intention to collective dismissal and the closure of a maximum of 47 stores for various Belgian brands. In addition, up to 287 jobs can be lost in Belgium. That is a quarter of the total. The unions informed about this this morning via a special works council.
FNG says that the group must be made stronger and that it must reduce and / or spread debt. It talks about this with banks and bondholders, but those talks are progressing slowly. At the end of last year, FNG had more than half a billion euros in financial (interest-bearing) debts. All debts together amounted to approximately 734 million euros in debts. More than the turnover.
The group is negotiating a recovery plan and the injection of fresh money. It requires protection against creditors. This concerns both Brantano NV, FNG International NV and Market Retail Belgium BV. The file is brought before the Enterprise Court in Mechelen.
The largest hatchet is brought to Brantano. Up to 30 stores of the formulas Brantano, Boutik by Brantano and Concept Fashion will close there. All 17 shops of Fred & Ginger (children’s label) and Ginger (women’s label) will also disappear. This is striking because the Fred & Ginger stores are the origin of the FNG Group. But even more striking is that Brantano, which has always been presented as a winning horse, is doing so badly.
There will also be a restructuring of the headquarters in Mechelen. 287 employees or about 25 percent of FNG’s workforce in Belgium are threatened. The restructuring in Belgium follows that in the Netherlands where 50 stores closed and 234 jobs disappear. The stock watchdog FSMA conducts various investigations into possible irregularities at FNG. Earlier this year, strongman Dieter Penninckx was pushed aside. The FSMA’s study plus health problems were the basis.