De­ci­sion day for Marinopou­los

Court will rule to­day whether to grant the su­per­mar­ket chain a life ex­ten­sion or con­sent to its sud­den death

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY DIMITRA MANIFAVA

A court in Athenswill this morn­ing de­ter­mine whether or not the Marinopou­los su­per­mar­ket chain has breathed its last. The court will de­cide whether it will ac­cept or re­ject the in­junc­tion ap­pli­ca­tion of Greece’s big­gest re­tailer against its cred­i­tors.

All signs point to the court grant­ing the his­toric su­per­mar­ket com­pany a new lease on life, given the ap­par­ent con­sent to that ef­fect by the state and the banks, to which Marinopou­los owes a sig­nif­i­cant share of its debts.

Its sup­pli­ers are split into two camps: Those wish­ing to show Marinopou­los no tol­er­ance as they are against the pro­tec­tion of the com­pany from its cred­i­tors, and those who be­lieve its sud­den death will leave them with vir­tu­ally noth­ing to ex­pect in the way of the money owed to them.

It would be de­sir­able if an in­junc- tion could be is­sued to­day, open­ing the way for all par­ties in­volved to reach an agree­ment in the next cou­ple of weeks for the stream­lin­ing of the com­pany. Re­ports said yes­ter­day that a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of ri­val su­per­mar­ket chain Sklaveni­tis will present a let­ter in court to­day ex­press­ing the firm’s in­ten­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the stream­lin­ing of Marinopou­los. Sklaveni­tis had reached an agree­ment a few months ago to co­op­er­ate with its ri­val.

Marinopou­los is­sued a state­ment yes­ter­day as­sur­ing that its em­ploy­ees’ salaries will not be af­fected by the de­ci­sion ex­pected to­day by the court. It said that the same goes for any debts to de­parted staff from lay­offs or vol­un­tary ex­its. It also said that both Marinopou­los SA and its sub­sidiaries will make ev­ery ef­fort to pre­serve all jobs in the group.

The Marinopou­los case is be­ing closely watched by every­one with an in­ter­est in the Greek econ­omy as it 542.12 1.1102 not only con­cerns the com­pany’s 13,000 em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies, but also the more than 50,000 peo­ple who work for the chain’s sup­pli­ers, which are set to lose the money due to them, to say noth­ing of the own­ers of the prop­er­ties that house the su­per­mar­kets.

The size of the Marinopou­los debt is such (over 1.8 bil­lion euros, or 1 per­cent of the coun­try’s do­mes­tic prod­uct) that a sud­den death would be a ma­jor blow for the Greek econ­omy.

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