The future of the 9,000 employees of Conforama, in full judicial recovery, is playing out these days. For two months, the furniture giant has requested a loan guaranteed by the State (PGE) of 322 million euros to cope with cash at the lowest, barely enough to hold "a few weeks", said management . A bottle in the sea in the middle of Covid-19 which is still a dead letter, letting the threat of bankruptcy loom.
But another track is indeed on the table today: that of the takeover proposed by its competitor But, as we have revealed. An internal document that we obtained, signed by Marc Ténart, managing director of Conforama, confirms this.
While he keeps declaring publicly that the expression of interest of But "does not correspond to the interests of the employees, nor to those of the sector", it is a very different speech than the CEO of Conforama cares about its employees.
In this note dated May 20, 2020, Marc Ténart while indicating that "the EMP is always the option on which we focus", explains to all his employees: "the banks forced us to examine other options , including a rapprochement with Aim and it is part of my responsibilities to examine all the scenarios that preserve the interests of Conforama, its employees and the entire industry. Why this double speech from Conforama? "Management is looking to raise the stakes for its shareholders at the expense of employees," says a source familiar with the matter.
What will the shareholders do?
The interministerial industrial restructuring committee (Ciri) brings together the unions of the company this Friday to recall its requirements concerning the possible takeover of Conforama by But which would be favored by Bercy: the maintenance of all jobs, the financing of Job safeguard plan already implemented in 2019 (1,900 job cuts) pending due to lack of funding and preservation of all stores of the brand.
A court administrator, Frédéric Abitbol, who was already on file a year ago, has been playing conciliators for a month between the company and the banks. Last weekend, he chaired a telephone meeting with Ciri teams, as revealed by BFM Business, during which the draft Goal was presented. It remains to be seen whether the shareholders of Conforama, the investment funds that own the group, will hear this.