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Sprider chain of shops goes bankrupt

02 October 2013 / 19:10:24  GRReporter
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In 2010, Sprider had over 110 shops in and outside Greece and as of yesterday, it is already part of the past of Greece’s business life. The company started to report losses in 2009. After a period of good profits (2004-2008) when it was able to increase its turnover from 65 million euro to 163 million euro and to report a total profit of 55 million euro in favour of its shareholders, the situation changed in 2009. Since then, the company's losses have exceeded the total amount of 107 million euro whereas its sales have fallen to the level of a decade ago, reaching only 53 % in comparison with the record levels of 2009.

At the same time, the management of loans had become its most significant problem. The financing of the booming business in Greece and abroad, the opening up to new suppliers and the high operational costs had led to a drastic increase in the liabilities of the group from 48 million euro in 2007 to nearly 97 million euro today. During the first eight months of 2013, the company closed 34 shops in Greece and completely withdrew from Romania and Cyprus, where it closed its subsidiaries due to liquidation, keeping open only one shop in Bulgaria. By August, the company reduced the number of its shops throughout Greece to only 44 whereas they had numbered 114 in early 2011; 88 of them were in Greece and 26 in the Balkans, including Bulgaria. The company strived for further expansion but stumbled over the refusal of banks to continue to finance its investment plans.

During the period of the "bubble", its major shareholders (Sakis and Savvas Hadziioannou who have recently withdrawn from the management of the company) played an important role on the stock market by the listed company, through acquisitions but also through the attempted expansion of activities in England. Until the beginning of the crisis in 2009 the company had steadily developed, the chain had entered the market in the Balkans by opening shops in Sofia and Skopje in 2006, and expanded its presence in Eastern Europe by entering Romania and Cyprus in 2007. In the same year the company had completed its significant investment in logistics with the opening of ultra modern warehouses of total area ​​21,000 square metres in Anthousa, Attica.

In January 2013, in an attempt to save the Sprider group, Hadziioannou requested the application of Article 99. However, the Court of Thessaloniki rejected the request and the company had to appeal. The application was considered on 23 September 2013 and the main lending bank to which Sprider owes the amount of 12 million euro intervened in the opening of the procedure. So did the state to which the company owes 1.5 million euro as well as the Social Insurance Institute (IKA) to which Sprider owes nearly 3.5 million euro.

Yesterday, the general secretary of the trade union of private sector employees, Nikos Koutsoukis, said in a statement, "The systemic Greek banks closed the "tap" of funding, not only for individuals but also for businesses, despite the received guarantees to the amount of 233 billion euro and the 50 billion of recapitalization."

Tags: Chain of shopsSpriderFailureSubsidiaries
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