Cash is empty at Neckermann
At tour operator Neckermann the countdown is to 22 February. Then the company draws up a state of affairs of the financial situation. Management is looking for solutions to the acute financial shortage, unions fear bankruptcy.
Rewind to the end of last year. Then the court of Nivelles approved a debt rescheduling at Neckermann. As part of this, the travel organizer would receive 3.5 million euros from its Spanish shareholder Wamos Group.
CEO Laurent Allardin emphasizes that it was never intended that the money would come in one go. But he does admit that a 1 million euro installment was planned at the beginning of February, and that money is not yet available. In Spain, people are waiting for help from the Spanish state, it is said.
A state of affairs will be drawn up on 22 February. “We are looking for solutions,” said Allardin. This can be money from Spain, but also money from a new investor, for example. There is currently no government support in Belgium, says the Neckermann CEO.
We are sick of solutions.
“The management has really set February 22 as a deadline,” says trade unionist Els De Coster (ACLVB). “Money has to come in by then, because the current situation cannot last forever.”
Low costs, but also costs
The Neckermann stores are still closed and the company does not generate any turnover. This also has low costs: the staff, for example, is in temporary unemployment. But there are indeed costs, such as the rent, telephone and internet bills, not to mention the repayment plan that was agreed upon in the debt rescheduling, according to De Coster. ‘So it is a small cost structure, but there must be some’ money ‘to be able to bear those costs.
Management has never had a fair chance due to the corona crisis.
The union woman sees three options: fresh money from Spain, different money (a new investor) or no money. In the latter case, bankruptcy is not far off.
The union woman does not throw a stone at the management. Due to the corona crisis, which has virtually paralyzed the entire tourism sector, she ‘never got a fair chance’, she says.
The current Neckermann was created after the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook. The Spanish travel company Wamos Group took over 62 of the 91 travel shops and placed them under the banner of Neckermann, which was a subsidiary brand of Thomas Cook.