RALLYE SA: SAUVEGARDE FILING DEADLINE 9 AUG 2019/9 OCT 2019

Rallye SA ("Rallye"), the French-based holding company of supermarket chain Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA ("Casino") forms part of Jean-Charles Naouri's "French retail group's complex financial web":

  • Euris SAS, Naouri's private investment fund, holds approx. 92 per cent of Finatis SAS;
  • Finatis SAS holds approx. 90 per cent of Foncière Euris SA;
  • Foncière Euris SA holds approx. 60 per cent of Rallye; and
  • Rallye holds approx. 52 per cent of Casino. 

In May 2019, Rallye, Finatis SAS and Foncière Euris SA entered procédure de sauvegarde("safeguard proceedings") in an attempt to protect the group from creditors and save it from collapse

The filing deadline for French resident creditors is 9 August 2019and for non-French resident creditors 9 October 2019. See below for a further update on Rallye / Casino and please contact Iden Asl with claims filing queries.

 

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS

RALLYE SA ("RALLYE")

On 23 May 2019, Rallye entered into a procédure de sauvegarde(safeguard proceedings), along with a number of its group companies (Euris SAS ("Euris"), Finatis SAS ("Finatis"), Foncière Euris SA ("Foncière Euris"), Cobivia SAS and L’Habitation Moderne de Boulogne SASU). The opening of the safeguard proceedings were published in the Bulletin Officiel des Annonces Civiles et Commercialeson 9 June 2019 (the “Publication Date”). Creditors located in France must submit claims to the court appointed creditors’ representative, Me Valérie Leloup-Thomas of Selafa MJA, with acknowledgement of receipt within two months of the Publication Date (9 August 2019), whilst non-French creditors have until four months from the Publication Date (9 October 2019). The announcement of the opening of the safeguard proceedings can be found here.

Reuters reported that a French court passed a judgment on 4 July 2019allowing Societe General SA("SocGen") to call in collateral it holds in Rallye. Pursuant to a derivatives contract entered into in 2014, Foncière Euris pledged 1,770,000 shares in Rallye as collateral, approximately 3.4 per cent of Rallye's share capital. After the safeguard proceeding was announced, Foncière Euris tried to prevent SocGen from calling in the collateral, which was provisionally approved by a French court on 29 May 2019. This led to a "stock rout sparked by legal defeat" on 9 July 2019, with Rallye's shares falling 13 per cent due to investor concerns regarding other pledges potentially made within the group as well as a concern that the market may be "flooded" by shares in the group companies. 

Casino has also struggled with the "hyper-competitive French retail market" and has not paid its interim dividend this year. It is selling assets in an attempt to pay down its debt, with aim of disposing of at least EUR 2.5bn worth of assets by the first quarter of 2020. As part of this, it has agreed to sell Vindemia, one of its subsidiaries, for EUR 219m.

Please contact David Chijner if you have any queries regarding the Rallye safeguard proceedings.

VALLOUREC SA ("VALLOUREC")

Vallourec, the multinational manufacturing company headquartered in France, announced its Q2 results on 24 July 2019, with its EBITDA increasing to EUR 102m, compared to EUR 23m in Q2 of 2018Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board of Vallourec comented that the Q2 results evidenced that "Vallourec is on the right path to recovery". He anticipated the continued recovery of the oil and gas business, particularly in Brazil in 2020. It was also reported that, based on current market trends, Vallourec indicated that it would fulfil its financial covenants come the end of the year.

STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS N.V. ("STEINHOFF")

Steinhoff announced the approval of CVA Amendment Consent Request No. 4 (the "Amendment") by the requisite majority of creditors on 28 June 2019. This amendmentextends the CVA long-stop date to 9 August 2019 and amends the Steinhoff Europe AG ("SEAG") CVA and Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH ("SFHG") CVA to facilitate internal restructuring within SEAGprior to completing the wider restructuring. 

Various announcements were made on 12 July 2019 including the publication of Steinhoff's half-year reports, notice of Steinhoff's AGM(which will occur on 30 August 2019) and the requirement for creditors in the SEAG CVA and SFHG CVA to file entitlement letters prior to 19 July 2019 to be eligible to receive an entitlement to the New Lux Finco 2 Debt and/or the New Lux Finco 1 Debt on or before the Restructuring Effective Date. Steinhoff reported a loss of EUR 356m in the report. However, net sales from continuing operations increased to EUR 6.8bn.

Steinhoff also confirmed that it launched proceedings in the Cape Town High Court against former CEO Markus Jooste and former CFO Ben la Grange to recover R 850m and R 271m respectively paid to them during the course of their employment. This follows the crippling 95 per cent drop in share price in response to the December 2017 accounting scandal.

 

CONTACT

Please contact Iden AslHannah Geddes or Tobias Plowman with any queries regarding this month's Trade Alert.