The last Belgian locations of the international cash-and-carry store Makro will close their doors forever on Friday, RTL Info reports, the Brussels Times reported. In total, 1,300 employees will lose their jobs. The Makro group has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for many months. Following the legal reorganization in June, all of the company’s real estate assets were transferred to German rival Metro. Metro was recently bought out by Dutch retail group Sligro, saving nine out of eleven of the Makro locations and 500 jobs.
Workers walked off the job in Greece and Belgium on Wednesday during nationwide strikes against increasing consumer prices, disrupting transportation, forcing flight cancellations and shutting down public services in the latest European protests over the rising cost of living, the Associated Press reported. In Greece, where workers were holding a 24-hour general strike, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki.
Belgian tax authorities and National Social Security Office, ONSS, have agreed, for the moment, not to declare businesses that are too heavily indebted bankrupt, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the Chamber’s Economic Affairs Commission this week, the Brussels Times reported. A moratorium on bankruptcies ended on Monday and Parliament is yet to approve a new bill on the judicial reorganisation procedure. Amendments to a text prepared by the Government were submitted only on Friday.
The board of the tour operator Neckermann, which runs a chain of travel agents across Belgium, has given itself until 22 February to solve its cash problems or declare bankruptcy, the Brussels Times reported. The deadline is a last-ditch effort to save the company, and the jobs of its 150 employees. In 2019 Neckermann Belgium was saved from the brink of bankruptcy after the collapse of the British parent company Thomas Cook when 62 of the 91 branches were taken over by Spanish tour company Wamos and rebranded as Neckermann.
Swissport Belgium SA/NV, a loss-making unit of Swissport International AG which provides ground services at Brussels airport, will file for bankruptcy after attempts to turn around the business failed, Swissport said on Monday, Reuters reported. Its Belgian cleaning business will also file for bankruptcy, but the group’s separate cargo business in Brussels and Liege is unaffected, Swissport added in a statement. Swissport, owned by China’s HNA Group, is the world’s largest provider of airport ground services and air cargo handling with operations at 300 airports in 47 countries.
The UK arm of the Belgian-owned bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien is at risk of falling into administration within days, putting 500 jobs under threat unless a buyer is found this week, the Financial Times reported. The restructuring experts Alvarez & Marsal are running an emergency sale of the 26-site café business with the deadline for bids on Wednesday, according to people with knowledge of the process. If no buyer is found during the sale process, known as Project Sunburst according to one person, administrators will be appointed.