Camaïeu placed in receivership: keys to better understand the situation

The northern ready-to-wear brand Camaïeu declared itself in “cease of payments” and requested this Wednesday to put it in receivership. 2,600 employees are waiting.

How did we get here?

Camaïeu’s request was motivated by the acceleration of the company’s difficulties and especially the consequences “in a judgment of the Court of Cassation, dated June 30, ” Refusal of traders on low rents during Covid “Management explained in a press release. A management that will not say more before the final judgment of the Court of Commerce, but determined that the main purpose of Camaïeu’s request is ” the continuity of the company will be preserved “.

Already in a difficult situation linked to the health crisis when it was taken over in August 2020 by Financière immobilière bordelaise, which placed it within the distribution division of Hermione People & Brand (HP&B), Camaïeu continues to accumulate difficulties.

In particular a cyberattack in June 2021 blocked the IT system and logistics for four months, resulting in a loss of 40 million euros. In a recent interview with LSA magazine, Wilhelm Hubner, president of HP&B and Camaïeu (and former managing director of Auchan retail France) stated that the decision then was ” go to war on the issue of commercial rent “. A showdown has begun with landlords in large shopping centers, resulting in non-payment of rent in almost half of the stores operated in France.

But the decision of the Court of Cassation on June 30 requires the payment of rents and ends the negotiation attempts. Faced with this wall of debt, Camaïeu therefore decided to put himself into receivership.


Union concerns

For unions, poor strategic choices are the cause of the situation. ” For many months we have criticized the shareholder’s choice not to pay the tenantsexplained Lucie Colier, CGT delegate at the warehouse in Roubaix. They think that the Court of Cassation will rule in our favor, which is not the case. As of two years ago, we found ourselves with a receiver, with the fear of closing stores and layoffs, for employees who often have 25 to 30 years of seniority. »

For Thierry Siwik, also from CGT, “ it is between 5 and 7 million euros in late rent that must be paid every month for around 250 stores. As we belong to a group that represents 2 billion euros in assets, this debt must be borne by the shareholder. »

“Even if we want to develop a group, that doesn’t bother us. But all this seems to have happened too quickly, as funding and investment are needed to turn around struggling companies. »

In this case, the FIB of investor Michel Ohayon, dragged for several years in a “trouble” of redemptions. In a few years, HP&B, the trade and distribution branch of the group, replaced Galeries Lafayette in the provinces, La Grande Récré, Camaïeu, Gap France, Go Sport, the Cafés Legal, and even recently just got interest in getting. in PicWic. Toys.

That we want to develop a group, it doesn’t bother usThierry Siwik believes. But all this seems to have happened too quickly, as funding and investment are needed to turn around struggling companies. It is for us very fast to consolidate the results. »

In August 2020, FIB acquired 511 of the 634 Camaïeu stores in France, and 2,600 employees out of more than 3,100, launched a transformation plan. The new management, under the leadership of Wilhelm Hubner, aims to return to balance and in 2023 recover the turnover of 2019, i.e. 570 million euros (only after 340 million in 2021).


And now?

For Éric Feldmann, president of the Commercial Court of Lille Métropole, the placement of the receiver, and therefore the protection of the Court, makes it possible to ” freeze passive » the time to find a solution.

The current request is about receivership with a continuation plan, which includes paying the debt within 10 years. If this is not possible, there may be a disposal plan, like two years ago, with the search for a buyer. If there is no other solution, the final decision is judicial liquidation. “.

But we are not there, the continuation plan that the group wants to present is to allow ” the continuity of the company », and to preserve the work as much as possible with possible synergies within the different brands of the group.

Faced with the economic and social issues of the case, the Commercial Court of Lille will give itself a few days before giving its deliberation.

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