PARIS — It’s back to the drawing board for Vivarte and its creditors.
Stéphane Maquaire, chief executive officer of the ailing French retail group, has appointed Hélène Bourbouloux as the ad hoc agent to renegotiate its debt of 1.5 billion euros, or $1.65 billion at current exchange, according to a spokesman for the company’s management, who asked not to be named.
Bourbouloux had already been involved in the same capacity during the company’s 2014 financial restructuring. The preventive procedure is aimed at providing a confidential and out-of-court negotiation of the company’s debts, due at the end of 2019 and 2020.
Maquaire, who took over as ceo from Richard Simonin in April, will present a five-year recovery plan for the group in September that is expected to include a sale of the Pataugas, Chevignon and Kookaï brands.
Vivarte’s creditors agreed in 2014 to cut its debt by two billion euros, or $2.5 billion, and inject 500 million euros, or $634 million, of new money. In exchange, majority ownership of the group switched from Charterhouse Capital Partners to a group of lenders led by four funds: Oaktree, Alcentra, GoldenTree and Babson.
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The apparel and footwear specialist, whose stable of brands also includes Caroll, Naf Naf, André, Minelli and Cosmoparis, has been battling a morose economic climate with a push to renovate and reinvigorate banners such as La Halle.
But the debt has spiraled again. In the financial year ending Aug. 31, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, are expected to total 75 million euros, or $82.3 million at current exchange, implying a debt to EBITDA ratio of 20.
Vivarte reported sales of 2.4 billion euros, or $2.8 billion, in its fiscal year 2015, an estimated 11 percent drop versus the previous year. In April, it announced plans to lay off 1,481 employees at its various chains and shutter 197 stores.