PARIS — The embattled French eyewear manufacturer Groupe Logo is to be liquidated, according to a decision handed down by the commercial court of Lyon, France, the company’s lawyer Renaud Semerdjian confirmed.
The news Tuesday came after fellow eyewear maker Cémo, a potential buyer for Groupe Logo, which filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, stepped away from the negotiating table. Press reports say the deal breaker was Tag Heuer, the company’s main client, which in September announced its decision not to renew its contract with the eyewear manufacturer, due to expire on Dec. 31, 2017, thanks to the group’s poor management.
Cémo declined to comment.
Tag Heuer’s owner LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton also announced in September a decision not to renew its contract with Groupe Logo for its Fred brand. Licenses for both of the labels are said to have been last renewed in 2014.
Founded in 1896 and based in Morez — the so-called eyewear capital of France, in the country’s Jura department — Groupe Logo is understood to have held licenses with both brands dating back two decades.
Semerdjian in September told WWD that the licensing deals for Tag Heuer and Fred represent 97 percent of Groupe Logo’s turnover, which in 2015 totaled around 40 million euros, or $43.1 million at average exchange rates. The “direct consequence” of the decision, he said, “amounts to the end of company.”
But Tag Heuer at the time strongly contested reports that it was responsible for the company’s fate, claiming it is Logo’s last remaining “significant” client following the departure of a number of other brands due to poor management of the group’s executive team and shareholders. According to a source, they include Salomon Eyewear, Land Rover, Naf Naf and Barbapapa.
“Tag Heuer is not responsible for Groupe Logo’s current situation. On the contrary, as far as possible, we have shown our support. Until only a few years ago, Logo managed almost a dozen licenses but most of them have since ended their collaboration with the company,” a Tag Heuer spokesman said in September. “Since 2012, Tag Heuer has repeatedly shared its concern over the serious problems at play and in 2014 signaled that due to the company’s abnormal operating conditions and poor management we would not be renewing our license.”
Some 172 Groupe Logo employees in France are now set to lose their jobs at the company that manufactures about 400,000 frames annually. Groupe Logo also counts 450 employees abroad, according to Semerdjian.