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Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits rethinks brand disposals

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) has backtracked on its plan to sell a number of brands to cover the group’s losses in full-year 2018.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits will address its financial situation through its deal with COFEFF

In September 2018, MBWS announced it was considering offloading some of its brands after downgrading its full-year fiscal outlook.

However, the group’s latest update from a board of directors meeting yesterday (11 January), said its “various efforts carried out have not resulted in offers that would meet the stated objective, in the required time frame”.

MBWS’s board of directors will use its binding agreement with Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEFF) as “another solution” to addressing the company’s financial position.

The group also confirmed that it will “continue to study the sale of assets whose disposal would not limit its capacity for development or the execution of its strategy, including some brands whose strategic interest would not be significant in the context of the company’s medium-term strategy”.

In addition, MBWS has appointed Ledouble as an independent expert to provide a “fairness opinion regarding the capital increase reserved for COFEPP”.

BDL Capital Management, which holds 7.1% of the company’s share capital, requested the launch of an ad hoc committee, which was approved at the board meeting. The committee has been created to interact with Ledouble and provide an opinion to MBWS’s board.

Benoît Hérault will resign from his position as chairman and member of board of directors, upon completion of one of the two options outlined in the binding agreement signed by MBWS and COFEPP.

“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,” said Hérault.

“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.”

Five other resolutions were not approved at the meeting including the revocations of board membership of all board members with the exception of Jacques Tierny, who was recently appointed; and the establishment of attendance fees allocated to the board of directors.

Other rejected requests include the exclusion of variable, extraordinary items to CEO Jean-Noël Reynaud, and Hérault for the years 2017 and 2018; modification of resolution 27: authorisation given to the board of directors in order to proceed to the attribution of free existing shares or to issue shares for the benefit of recipients to be determined among the company’s staff; and amendments to the two options in the agreement between MBWS and COFEPP of 24 December 2018.

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