The big surprise from the bids that the court representatives received on Tuesday afternoon is that there is not only interest in the Metro catering chain, but also in the Makro stores. There is one offer for Makro in which the restart of an important part of the employees is promised.
It is not clear who is behind the offer. The question is whether it concerns a party with a long-term strategy or whether there is a risk of a Blokker scenario. The Dutchman Dirk Bron previously bought the Belgian Blokker stores, but that quickly led to bankruptcy. The party bidding on Makro seems to want to put a reasonable amount on the table. The offer also includes Makro’s stock and building in Liège.
There are also some bids on Metro. The clear favorite there seems to be the Dutch Sligro, which would go ahead both financially and in terms of employment. The management around Vincent Nolf, the current CEO of Makro and Metro Belgium, has also made an offer, but that could not match that of Sligro. There is also talk of a bid for one specific location.
Hope for employees
So there is hope for the employees until further notice. Court representative Nick Peeters confirms the interest. “There are several bids and there is also interest in Makro. The court must now rule.”
The court officers have put a lot of energy into creating favorable bidding conditions in recent months.
The German Metro sold the Belgian Makro and Metro organization to the Luxembourg restructuring fund Bronze Properties in mid-June. In September, the fund already applied for a judicial reorganization for Makro/Metro. It was given four months to try to find buyers for the store formats.
Better than feared?
GA Europe, a party related to Bronze Properties, planned to buy up the stocks of Makro and Metro. There were initial IT complications, but they were resolved.
If it actually comes to a successful bid for Metro, up to 500 jobs can be saved there. If an important number of jobs were also saved at Makro, it would be much better than everyone feared. But it remains to be seen to what extent the Makro bidder manifests itself as solid.
Makro has 1,325 employees, including long-term sick people. 240 people work at the shared head office with Metro and another 434 people work directly at Metro.