In a significant turn of events, FIB has emerged as the victorious bidder for the struggling ready-to-wear brand, Camaïeu. The Lille commercial court recently rejected the takeover offer put forth by the current CEO, granting Financière immobilière Bordelaise (FIB) the opportunity to take control of Camaïeu. The brand has been in receivership since May, and FIB, an investment fund specializing in commercial real estate, intends to salvage the company by retaining over 2,600 of its employees out of the 3,100-strong workforce.

Olivier Pardo, the lawyer representing FIB, expressed his satisfaction with the court’s ruling, describing it as a victory not only for the company but for the legal system as well. FIB has ambitious plans to restore Camaïeu to its former glory as a significant player in the industry. Notably, Camaïeu’s Social and Economic Committee (CSE) and the inter-union CFDT-CGT-FO have also voiced their support for FIB’s takeover offer.

Led by businessman Michel Ohayon, FIB has extensive experience in the retail sector, having previously acquired 22 Galeries Lafayette franchises in 2018. As part of the deal, FIB will take control of 511 stores and employ 2,659 staff members. However, there will also be some job losses, with more than 460 employees either voluntarily leaving or being dismissed in order to ensure the overall preservation of jobs. Although this may seem like a setback, Stéphane Ducrocq, the CSE’s lawyer, sees it as a necessary evil, as it allows for the elimination of the most vulnerable stores and debts.

FIB has made it clear that it intends to maintain its partnership with Camaïeu’s current logistics service provider, Dispéo, and keep the brand’s head office in Roubaix intact, along with the logistics building, for the next five years. On the other hand, CEO Joannes Soënen’s competing offer, backed by existing shareholder funds GoldenTree, CVC, and Farallon, aimed to preserve 2,520 jobs and acquire 446 stores. However, the court believed that the support and trust of Camaïeu’s teams and employees were crucial for the company’s recovery, ultimately concluding that the current management team had failed to inspire confidence among the staff.

Camaïeu, which was founded in 1984, found itself in receivership due to the severe impact of the health crisis and the absence of a state-guaranteed loan. The company had been implementing a transformation plan and was on the verge of finalizing a financing agreement with its shareholders and banks. Unfortunately, the pandemic led to the closure of over 800 stores worldwide, leaving a significant €162 million shortfall.

Useful links:
1. Financière immobilière Bordelaise (FIB)
2. Camaïeu