A decision by an Athens first instance court over an Article 106B bankruptcy petition filed by the troubled Marinopoulos supermarket group has still not been issued, with a Feb. 14, 2017 deadline looming for a merger deal with rival Sklavenitis — a prospective rescue plan financed by all four of Greece’s systemic banks.
The foot-dragging by Greece’s notoriously sluggish judicial system has exacerbated the already tenuous situation at the super market chain and its subsidiaries, a group that previously enjoyed a strategic business partnership in Greece with French giant Carrefour. That partnership was ended several years ago.
Indicative is the fact that December 2016 wages were not paid to employees, which number more than 13,000 on the payroll. Marinopoulos’ management has promised to cover the month’s payroll — estimated at roughly eight million euros — once the first instance court decision is issued.
Sources told “Naftemporiki” this week that a court decision “may” be issued next week, although no information was gleaned this week over the outcome.
The Marinopoulos saga has also attracted heightened attention on the part of the embattled Greek government, given that a collapse of the rescue / restructuring plan would leave tens of thousands of wage-earners facing the prospect of unemployment. Beyond the payroll, the supermarket group owes hundreds of millions of euros to suppliers, from multinational producers to small family-run units.
Employees’ representatives told “Naftemporiki” that they demanded the immediate payment of December’s wages, while saying they will issue an announcement on their next steps in case the payroll is not met.
December 2016 was the last month of an interim financing scheme that saw funding of 80 million euros funneled to Marinopoulos.