The French court has changed Antalis owner Sequana's insolvency proceedings into court supervised receivership.
On the 21st of March the commercial court of Nanterre, France, decided to turn Sequana's safeguard proceedings (procédure de sauvegarde) into court-supervised receivership proceedings (redressement judiciaire). The observation period of the company's receivership proceedings will end 18 May this year. At the initiative of the group's administrators and the company's creditors' representative the conversion of the insolvency proceedings had been filed two weeks ago.
Sequana had blamed the decision to file for a conversion of its insolvency proceedings on the recent ruling by the Court of Appeal in London in the BAT-Sequana litigation case which ordered the company to make £115m in remedy payments to British American Tobacco.
"This request is based on the inability for Sequana to file a sauvegarde plan enabling it to pay off the debts taken into consideration and to finance the observation period pending the decision of the Supreme Court in England which, subject to Sequana being permitted to appeal, will likely not be handed down before a minimum 13 months’ time-limit." the company explained in an announcement. Sequana was previously ordered by the Court of Nanterre to file a safeguard plan until 17 May 2019.
There is obvious concern in the sign and display market about the knock on effect of this court ruling for Antalis, as Sequana owns a stake of over 75% in Antalis, and in the words of Sequana themselves "Antalis accounts for more than 80% of Sequana's consolidated sales".
Antalis itself has been keen to state that it is an entirely separate business, with its own Stock Exchange listing, and have further suggested that a new shareholding structure could result in Sequana no longer being it's majority shareholder in the coming months.