Marie Brizard predicts annual loss of up to €65 million

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) has estimated it will record a net loss of between €60 million (US$68m) and €65m in 2018 following “significant operating and financial difficulties”.

For the year ended 31 December 2018, the group also estimates EBITDA will fall by €28m (US$31.7m).

In a document published ahead of its AGM on 31 January, MBWS outlined the difficulties it has faced in recent months, and put forward a rescue agreement that it will ask shareholders to approve.

The group has faced weakened market conditions in France and the US, and was hit by a “delay in executing [its] plan of corrective measures in Poland” – a key market where MBWS has long struggled.

MBWS announced its intention to sell a selection of brands in order to compensate for predicted 2018 losses, but later backtracked on the plan after failing to secure a binding offer.

As such, the firm’s largest shareholder – French holding company La Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEPP), which owns La Martiniquaise Bardinet – has agreed to offer a rescue investment of €37.7m (US$42.7m).

MBWS will put forward two options for its agreement with COFEPP during the AGM next week, ahead of the official announcement of its 2018 results.

CEO Andrew Highcock will outline a new strategic plan for the firm before the end of the first quarter. Highcock was brought in as CEO of the group in July, taking over from chairman Benoît Hérault, who acted as CEO on an interim basis following the departure of Jean-Noël Reynaud.

Hérault will step down after the agreement with COFEPP has been completed.

In December, Hérault said: “These past five years as an independent board member and then as chairman of the board of Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits have been very intense.

“In 2018, given a sharply deteriorated financial situation, I accepted – at the request of the members of the board of directors – to take on the role of chief executive officer on an interim basis, with the main objectives of finding a new CEO for the group and securing a solution for ensuring its status as a going concern. These objectives have now been accomplished.

“A new strategic plan will be presented over the course of Q1 2019 and the backing of our group by a solid industrial player opens a new chapter for Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits. I will remain with the company until the recapitalisation is completed.”


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Author: Amy Hopkins {authorlink}