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Four candidates interested in taking over the Bio c'Bon brand



           


FRANCE / SPAIN / ITALY. Four takeover bids have been filed with the Paris Commercial Court for the company Bio c'Bon (€150 million turnover in 2018 and 1,500 employees), with a deadline of Tuesday 15 September 2020 at midday.

Placed in bankruptcy on 21 August 2020 (liabilities would reach €40 million) and in receivership on 2 September 2020, Bio c'Bon - owned by its founder in 2008 Thierry Brissaud and the Marne & Finance group and based in Athis Mons - has a fleet of 158 shops in France, Italy (since 2014), Spain (2015), Switzerland (2016), Belgium (2016) and Japan (2016). 2,800 small shareholders have invested a total of €114m in the business.

Bio c'Bon is coveted primarily by the Zouari family. The multi-franchisees of the Casino group (mainly Franprix and Monoprix) and owner of 44% of Picard, had already entered into exclusive negotiations in June 2020, even before the legal episodes. But the owners of Bio c'Bon finally preferred to go through the commercial court. Soraya and Moez Zouari are committed to taking over 146 shops and 92% of the workforce. They will invest 70 M€ in the group and will reserve 5% of the capital for the employees.

The second candidate is the Carrefour group, which already has a So Bio brand since its takeover in the summer of 2018, but should perpetuate the Bio c'Bon brand. And thirdly, a joint offer between Casino and Naturalia. No information has yet been filtered out of these two proposals.

Biocoop wants to maintain Bio c'Bon among independents

The fourth buyer in the rows is different from the previous three. Biocoop is a specialist in the sector, with a fleet of 630 organic shops. "Our project aims to offer an alternative to the mass retail offer in order to continue to promote a project that goes beyond the organic label", states Biocoop in a press release published on Wednesday 16 September 2020.

The brand, run by a network of independent operators and including 3,200 partner farms, is in full development with seventy units opening in 2019. Biocoop proposes to take over 105 shops (including 33 by Marcel & Fils, partner in the operation) and 100% of their staff, i.e. 686 employees. Its press release assures that "Biocoop's proposal is the only one to maintain the Bio c' Bon network among independents, the only one that does not promote a uniform and standardised model, the only one that is 100% organic, the only one that aims to rely on the current employees of the brand who will be able, if they wish, to organise themselves and thus take over their shop in SCOP format".

According to Biocoop, shops specialising in organic products represent only 28% of organic sales in France.


Frédéric Dubessy


Wednesday, September 16th 2020



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