Duralex brand plates, cups and platters.
The French company Duralex, whose sturdy dinnerware is a classic in many households, has gone bankrupt.
According to the French media, the company has been in judicial administration procedure (similar to bankruptcy) since last Wednesday.
The firm has suffered financial problems since 2017, when it inaugurated a new furnace with which it had to relaunch its production and, however, was forced to reduce it for a year due to the malfunction of the new installation.
However, according to Duralex's management, the ultimate cause is the coronavirus crisis.
"We have lost around 60% of the turnover as a result of the drop in exports, which represent 80% of our activity," said the president of the firm, Antoine Ioannidès, in statements to the newspaper
The executive added that the 248 employees continue to receive their salary, since the factory continues to operate while waiting for an investor willing to refloat it.
Headquartered in La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin (central France), the company has over 75 years of history in which it has not been immune to financial problems.
Although the original factory was older, the Duralex brand was created in 1945, the year World War II ended, by the Saint-Gobain industrial group.
In the sixties and seventies it would live its period of splendor: those are the years to which, also in Spain, its glasses and plates that were advertised as “practically unbreakable” are associated.
But then it began a slow decline that caused several changes of ownership.
In 1997, when it had more than 1,000 employees, it was sold by Saint-Gobain to an Italian group, which in 2005 would divest the business in favor of a Turkish investor.
Two years later, the second factory of the firm in France (in the sixties it would also open one in Spain that later changed hands), created in the heyday and employing more than 100 people, had to close.
In 2008, besieged by debts, Duralex entered the judicial liquidation process and that was when the current management took control with the idea of refloating it.
It then had 260 employees.
For a decade, the march seemed straightened and in 2017 it inaugurated a new furnace, which was to replace the old one, with an investment that reached eight million euros.
But the debt, the initial problems of the new facility, which prevented production from being at the expected levels for a year, and finally the drop in sales caused by the pandemic have once again put Duralex in serious difficulties.
Tutored by the Commercial Court of Orleans, the company now begins a period of six months of observation that will be fundamental to elucidate whether, like the legend that accompanies its products, it is able to withstand this new fall or if the virus has resulted in the Definitive lace for the historic brand.