Creditors want to exchange Hema debts for shares: report
A group of creditors want to become owner of department store chain Hema, NRC and Financieele Dagblad report. They are prepared to forgive 300 million euros of the chain's debts, in exchange for shares, according to a proposal sent to the Hema management, the newspapers write.
According to FD, the creditors are professional investors, such as hedge funds, who loaned some 600 million euros to the company. They fear that Hema's around 800 million euros in debt is too high and that the chain will never be able to repay it. To get as much money back as possible, the investors would like to exchange some of the debts for shares.
If the Hema management agrees to the plan, current owner Marcel Boekhoorn will lose his company. The billionaire acquired Hema in the autumn of 2018.
Hema has been struggling under a mountain of debt for years, and the coronavirus crisis did not help matters. Due to the pandemic, many Hema stores abroad had to close and the turnover in the Dutch branches plummeted. Most of the shops are now up and running again, but the damage had been done. Last month Hema CEO Tjeerd Jegen warned that "the survival of our company is in jeopardy" if turnover did not improve quickly."