History repeats itself for Camaieu, again placed in receivership

The management told AFP to take note of the court's decision "which pronounces the opening of a receivership procedure at the request of Camaieu".

History repeats itself for Camaieu, again placed in receivership

The management told AFP to take note of the court's decision "which pronounces the opening of a receivership procedure at the request of Camaieu". The brand, which declared itself last Monday in cessation of payment, said it was working "from now on the continuation plan".

The objective of the company, which employs 2,571 employees in 538 stores in France, "is to preserve the activity of the company and the Camaieu brand", she added.

"This decision should allow Camaieu, a historic brand of French textiles" to "continue the transformation initiated by the group and thus ensure the sustainability of the company", developed Camaieu, which belongs to Hermione People and Brands (HPB), the distribution division of the FIB of Bordeaux businessman Michel Ohayon.

“The amount declared in liabilities by the company is 56 million euros”, but the commercial court “rather thinks it of 91 million euros”, its president, Eric Feldmann, told AFP.

- "Wave of crises" -

HPB, which notably owns Go Sport, La Grande Récré and 23 Galeries Lafayette affiliated stores, intends to play on "synergies" within it, a source close to management indicated during the hearing on Wednesday.

To justify its request for placement in recovery, Camaieu had in particular invoked last week "the consequences" of a judgment of the Court of Cassation, dated June 30, "refusing traders to lower rents during the Covid period".

Even before this stop, the sign had been "largely weakened" by a "period of several months marked by a series of exogenous difficulties", she noted on Monday.

The group invokes “a wave of successive major and unprecedented crises due to the Covid crisis, repeated confinements (…) and the disorganization of global transport”.

He also cites a "cyberattack of exceptional magnitude" - at a cost estimated by management at 40 million euros - "as well as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the increase in the price of raw materials".

The president of HPB, Wilhelm Hubner, clarified on Wednesday "that part of the rents" had been suspended in June 2021, to initiate negotiations with the lessors, some of whom "went to litigation".

- "Social funds" -

"Even if the court validates a continuity plan, there will be a reorganization of the workforce, therefore a social plan, therefore social damage", reacted for AFP Thierry Siwik, CGT delegate of Camaieu.

"To minimize this social damage, we are going to build an action with the CGT HPB", he added.

According to Mr. Siwik, the unpaid rents concern "between 250 and 300" stores, for an amount of "50 to 60 million euros".

Nordine Misraoui, CFDT secretary of the CSE, said he was "confident" on the sidelines of the hearing on Wednesday, while indicating that he feared that "a few stores" would close.

"Our shareholder will have to put money back on the table (...) It is about his credibility in relation to all the brands he wears," he noted.

In August 2020, the FIB had taken over 511 of the 634 stores in France and around 2,600 employees out of more than 3,100, as part of an assignment piloted by the commercial court.

The new management, which had launched a transformation plan, had given itself two years to restore the company to equilibrium, with the objective of returning to a turnover of 552 million in 2022, at the level of 2019.

But according to management, turnover only reached 333 million over the 16 months after the takeover.

This "took place in an appalling context", had pointed to AFP a year ago Mr. Hubner.

The next hearing of the commercial court is scheduled for September 28, to "verify the amount of liabilities" with the statements of creditors and "to decide on the feasibility of the continuation plan", said Mr. Feldmann.

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