Staff at bankrupt maison de Champagne, Bricout & Delbeck are threatening to seize and destroy 6,000 hectolitres of stock, the equivalent of 800,000 bottles, if a court-approved takeover plan by Vranken Monopole, in association with Moet et Chandon, is held up on appeal at a hearing on November 13.

Staff fear any delay from judicial proceedings will seriously compromise the takeover of the company which makes provision to maintain 93 out of a total of 136 jobs.

In a symbolic gesture, they emptied 3hl of Champagne down the drain at the company's base at Tours- sur-Marne to underline their resolve .

Pierre Martin, chairman of Bricout & Delbeck's former parent company, La Financiere Martin, who is facing charges of fradulent bankruptcy, opposes the takeover bid and has appealed on the grounds that two of his property companies have been wrongfully included in his assets.