FRANCE: Belvédère renews creditor protection, seeks debt deal
Belvédère regains protection from creditors
Belvédère has announced that it has again been placed under creditor protection by the French court system, giving it breathing space to agree a deal to pay off debt.
In an unexpected about-turn, the commercial tribunal of Nimes has agreed to protect the Sobieski vodka maker, Belvédère said yesterday (4 July). Last month, a court in Dijon ruled to abolish the group's protection from creditors, placing its future in jeopardy.
Belvédère has estimated debts of EUR375m (US$545.5m).
“Free of all pressures, Belvédère can, from now on and without any haste whatsoever, begin negotiations with its creditiors aimed at clearing its debts,” the embattled drinks group said.
It added that the new protection will allow it to focus on key brands, which include Marie Brizard and William Peel alongside Sobieski.
However, creditors may still pressure the company to sell assets in order to recoup debts. The Dijon court judged that Belvédère had not respected the rules of its protection plan, one of its key tenets being asset sales.
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