Discount chain Wibra is making a new start in Belgium. Management continues with 36 of the 81 stores and 183 of the 439 employees. The Dutch management and the three bankruptcy trustees reached an agreement on this on Friday, the company reports.
The heavily loss-making Wibra Belgium started legal reorganization proceedings in July. The Dutch owners of the discount chain wanted to restart immediately, but the corporate court in Dendermonde rejected the plan on Thursday, because Wibra was not prepared to pay the holiday pay and the end-of-year bonuses of the acquired staff in full. That is contrary to the law.
Wibra Belgium then filed the books itself on Thursday and the three judicial commissioners who dealt with Wibra’s file were designated as receivers. They were immediately seated with the Dutch management on Friday afternoon. After an hour and a half there was white smoke.
Both the spokesperson for Wibra and receiver Jozef Dauwe confirm that the takeover plan that was agreed on Friday is almost entirely the same as the restart plan that the management had put forward during the judicial reorganization procedure. The big difference now is that the invoice for the holiday pay and the end-of-year bonuses of all employees – including those who go back to work after the restart – ends up with the fund for closing companies, which does apply a ceiling for its intervention.
For the restart, shops in all regions will be kept, the spokesperson for Wibra assures. The 183 employees who remain on board will keep their wage conditions.
The business court in Dendermonde has yet to formally approve the takeover plan. According to Dauwe, the examining magistrate gave a favorable advice.
Bas Duijsens, managing director of Wibra Belgium, is pleased with the agreement. “We are relieved to be able to move forward now, with a healthy foundation and a significant number of stores that we know we can make profitable again,” he says. “We will continue to pursue the course that has already been set in which assortments, presentation and communication are better tailored to the needs of the customer. In addition, the recently appointed Belgian management will ensure that we can respond more quickly to the changing market and better respond to potential opportunities. ”