Camaïeu: major last-minute maneuvers to push the state to save the brand

The Hauts-de-France region and the brand’s shareholder said they were ready on Wednesday to inject more money to avoid liquidation, if the State also provided financial support.

Camaïeu and its 2,600 employees on the wire: the Hauts-de-France region and the shareholder of the northern ready-to-wear brand said they were ready on Wednesday to inject more money to avoid liquidation, if the State also provided financial support, before a decisive hearing before the commercial court.

The Region and the European Metropolis of Lille are “ready to put money on the table“to save Camaïeu”if the state makes a move“, told AFP the cabinet of the boss LR Hauts-de-France, Xavier Bertrand. “No formal commitment has been made” from Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, with whom Xavier Bertrand spoke in the morning, but “the file continues to be studiedby the government, it was added.

The shareholder, Hermione People and Brands (HPB), had earlier in the morning told AFP that it was ready to inject more funds to save the brand, if the State agreed to provide financial support. . “The shareholder is ready to settle in a funding round with additional financing“, had assured the management of HPB, its president, Wilhelm Hubner, calling “all public actors, State and local authorities” to one “urgent meeting“.

HPB had indicated on Monday that it had requested an advance of 48 million euros from the State, but Bercy had judged that this request was not “realistic», the State being unable to «in no way replace the shareholders“.

“The situation is serious”

The shareholder’s continuation plan, which must be examined two months after the brand was placed in receivership, provides for the closure of 208 stores and the elimination of around 500 jobs, but would make it possible to avoid the social catastrophe of a liquidation: 2,600 jobs cut.

The shareholder hopes to gain some time to relaunch his brand, heckled by the health crisis and a costly cyberattack. “The hour is serious, it requires the mobilization of all“, insisted Wednesday Wilhelm Hubner. A total of 79.2 million euros is needed, according to HPB, over the next eight months to ensure, among other things, purchases for the autumn-winter season and to prepare the spring collection. The plan so far provides for a down payment of 14 million euros from the Financière immobilière bordelaise (FIB) of businessman Michel Ohayon – of which HPB is a subsidiary – to buy the headquarters and warehouse of Camaïeu in Roubaix.

These would then bevaluedand resold for an estimated amount of between 55 and 60 million. HPB”is the only oneTo be able to save the sign, after the withdrawal of various candidates for the takeover, including the American fund Gordon Brothers, had pleaded Monday Wilhelm Hubner, with AFP.

“Fear of a disappearance”

Shortly before the opening of the hearing, at 2:00 p.m., employees began to gather in front of the court, to cries of “shame on you, gravediggers of Camaïeu“. “I do not see how a decision other than judicial liquidation can be rendered“, estimated the lawyer of the CSE Justine Candat. At the end of a CSE on Tuesday, the internal union UPAE and the CGT said to themselves “extremely reservedon management’s ability to secure funding.

According to Thierry Siwik of the CGT, “two potential investorsexpressed an interest in another project built by his union, which “will request an extension from the courtto explore this track. “Judicial liquidation would be a scandal and a worrying sign of resignation“, tweeted the various-right mayor of Roubaix Guillaume Delbar on Wednesday. “The fate of 2,600 families is at stake“, he underlined.

According to HPB, the sign changed after a judgment of the Court of Cassation imposing at the end of June on traders to pay unpaid rents during the Covid period. Their amount amounts to 70 million euros out of a total of 240 million debts, said Wilhelm Hubner. By taking over 511 of the brand’s 634 stores in France and some 2,600 employees out of more than 3,100, HPB had given itself two years in 2020 to restore balance to the brand, founded in 1984.

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