Marie Brizzard just had a very bad year. In statement released ahead of a shareholder meeting, the company reported that for the 2018 fiscal year, a net loss between €60m and €65m ($68m-74m) is expected.
EBITDA (which is like an adjusted earnings excluding taxes, depreciation, etc.) is projected to land at -€28m (US$31.7m) in 2018 as opposed to -€11.9m during the prior year.
“The Group has faced significant operating and financial difficulties during the past several months which have led to the involvement of a conciliator and of an Inter-Ministerial Industrial Restructuring Committee, two independent bodies under whose guidance all solutions in the Company’s best interest have been explored (refinancing, disposal of brands and assets, involvement of a financial or industrial partner, capital increase, etc.),” the statement explained.
What does this very official language mean? Basically, management is telling the investors that the business is in a really bad position, but they’re trying to fix a potentially fatal problem.
One portion of the bailout strategy is a €25m bridge loan from Compagnie Financière Européenne de Prises de Participation (COFEPP). COFEPP already owns about 30% of Brizzard.
In addition, a slew of experts were commissioned to provide advice. Previously, Ledouble, an independent consulting & audit expert, was bought onboard along with a separate ad-hoc committee. The two groups are tasked with making recommendations for righting the ship.
Finally, the producer is looking at assets and brands that could be sold to raise capital.
Mind you, it’s not like the Brizzard team has been sitting around while the ship takes on water.
In July, the French corporation bought on a new CEO. Andrew Highcock came onboard from Diage and replaced Interim CEO and current Chairman Benoît Hérault.
In September, Brizzard unveiled a plan to sell off a large portion of their portfolio to raise funds and streamline operations. However, unable to find an offer to their liking, the distiller scrapped that remedy as well.