Belvédère may have to renegotiate debt payment plan after ruling

Belvédère may have to renegotiate debt payment plan after ruling

Belvédère has lost its appeal against a court ruling that would terminate the embattled French drinks group's protection from creditors.

A court of appeal in Dijon has today (7 June) upheld an earlier verdict that Belvédère did not respect the rules of its protection plan from creditors. One of the plan's key tenets is that the group sells assets in order to help pay down debt EUR375m (US$547.9m) of debt over a ten-year period.

The verdict will increase uncertainty around the Sobieski vodka maker's future.

“Today’s judgment means that Belvédère's creditors could demand immediate payment of what they are owed,” a spokesperson for a law firm representing some of Belvédère's creditors told just-drinks.

“The only remaining judicial avenue open to Belvédère now is to lodge an appeal with France’s  Supreme Court and, given the strategy it has adopted so far, such a move can’t be excluded,” the spokesperson said.

Belvédère's law firm declined to comment on the judgment when contacted by just-drinks. It has previously said that, if the appeal failed, attention would turn to re-negotiating an agreement with creditors.

Earlier today, Belvédère's shares were suspended on the Paris Stock Exchange, pending the ruling.

[This story was updated at 16:54 on 7 June to include confirmation of the ruling and comments from the parties involved]