Marinopou­los agree­ment is still at risk

Court ap­proval comes late and may lead to ex­tra costs for Sklaveni­tis and even to the deal’s an­nul­ment

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY DIM­I­TRA MANIFAVA

The con­tract for the un­der­tak­ing of the Marinopou­los su­per­mar­ket chain by peer Sklaveni­tis is at risk of be­ing an­nulled, as the bank­ruptcy court was late in is­su­ing its ap­proval of the deal yes­ter­day.

The de­lay, by one work­ing day, of the ver­dict’s is­sue af­ter months of wait­ing could trig­ger one of the agree­ment’s an­nul­ment clauses.

The de­ci­sion by the bank­ruptcy court rat­i­fies the agree­ment for the ac­qui­si­tion of the Marinopou­los chain.

The par­ties in­volved say this is a clear ver­dict in fa­vor of the takeover by Sklaveni­tis, but no one can be sure there won’t be any prob­lems in the process.

In­ter­ested par­ties will likely be able to see the full text of the ver­dict to­day, so they can agree on a le­gal for­mula to get around the im­pact of an an­nul­ment clause in the con­tract.

Yes­ter­day the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the two su­per­mar­ket chains and the cred­it­ing banks held a meet­ing to ex­am­ine all al­ter­na­tive plans, even though they are not yet aware of the court’s full de­ci­sion.

A le­gal source with full knowl­edge of the case told Kathimerini that the de­ci­sive fac­tor in the shap­ing of the so­lu­tion to be cho­sen will be the con­tent of the ver­dict as well as de­tails such as the pre­cise date it will bear.

Every­one hopes that the agree­ment will not need to be amended, as that would re­quire a fresh sub­mis­sion to the court and many months of ad­di­tional de­lays in the stream­lin­ing of Marinopou­los.

Yes­ter­day’s devel­op­ment may have over­come the first le­gal ob­sta­cle but it will in­crease the cost of the plan both for the banks and for Sklaveni­tis, as the Marinopou­los chain will re­quire ad­di­tional in­terim fi­nanc­ing as well as prod­uct sup­plies to keep op­er­at­ing.

The in­terim fi­nanc­ing – i.e. the money for the pe­riod un­til the takeover is com­plete – ran out in mid-De­cem­ber, so only 30 per­cent of the De­cem­ber salary has been paid to the Marinopou­los em­ploy­ees, with money com­ing from the stores’ turnover.

A fresh loan by the banks to Sklaveni­tis and the use of more of the buyer’s cap­i­tal is only per­mit­ted once the trans­fer of Marinopou­los to its new owner is com­pleted.

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