PARIS — The chairman of a New York investment company said Wednesday his move to block attempts to restructure Bidermann SA were aimed not at bankrupting the apparel manufacturing concern, but at protecting the investment company’s $13 million claim against Maurice Bidermann, the major shareholder in Bidermann.
Jeffrey Steiner, chairman of Rexnord Holdings Inc.’s parent, The Fairchild Corp., speaking at a press conference here, said he is willing to assist in the restructuring of Maurice Bidermann’s French men’s wear conglomerate, but that the executive was freezing Rexnord out of the negotiating process.
Steiner said he wanted Rexnord to be a part of the restructuring negotiations in order to protect Rexnord’s 99,511 shares of Bidermann SA stock, over which it gained control as a result of the $13 million claim.
Financially troubled Bidermann SA said in court papers that it would be forced to file for bankruptcy if it were not restructured. Rexnord’s U.S. Federal Court order enforcing the $13 million claim effectively blocked one recent restructuring move for the French operations, receiving wide press coverage, here.
A Bidermann SA bankruptcy could put thousands of French workers on the unemployment line. Steiner called Wednesday’s press conference to detail Rexnord’s moves.
Bidermann SA’s financial troubles has increased the likelihood that Maurice Bidermann would seek to raise cash by selling Bidermann Industries USA (BIUSA), the New York-based maker of Arrow shirts, Gold Toe socks, the Yves Saint Laurent men’s wear and the licensed Ralph Lauren Womenswear collections.
As reported, the board of the U.S. operation has hired a Wall Street bank to pursue possible purchasers.