Cyprus Mail

Greek retail group Marinopoulos applies for creditor protection

Greek supermarket operator Marinopoulos has filed for temporary creditor protection, it said on Wednesday, the latest casualty of the country’s crippling recession.

Privately owned Marinopoulos, which employs more than 12,500 people and runs more than 800 outlets, has sought legal protection to enter a resolution process, which would allow a restructuring plan for the group, it said in a statement.

A court is due to hear the petition on July 1, the company said. “Resolution is the only solution to maintain operation (of the group) at this point and allow the gradual transition to a comprehensive plan which will allow long-term viability,” it said.

Its stores were still operating as normal.

The group’s problems reflect the economic malaise in Greece, which has required three international bailouts since 2010 as it battled a debt crisis. Marinopoulos had expanded and made several acquisitions before the economic downturn.

Greek media estimated the group had about €700m in outstanding debts to 2,000 suppliers. Those figures could not immediately be verified.

“The company told us it went to court to protect itself from suppliers confiscating goods,” said Thomas Hortis, a representative of Marinopoulos staff, after some suppliers attempted to reclaim items from supermarket shelves in recent weeks.

“What we fear from this process is that about half the stores will shut … that will result in mass job losses. The workers are not to blame for this situation.”

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