Judge will not rule on dangling Big Bazar until after the weekend

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Big Bazar closed its doors in Goes earlier
NOS News
  • Roland Muller

    Reporter Economics

  • Roland Muller

    Reporter Economics

The judge leaves both the Big Bazar retail chain and its creditors dangling for a while. Next Monday, the court in Leeuwarden will only rule on whether the bargain chain can claim a so-called cooling-off period: four extra months during which you cannot go bankrupt, but you can still pay ongoing bills.

Big Bazar is asking for this in a desperate attempt to stave off bankruptcy. But creditors are fed up and want their money back. The chain has not paid rent at various buildings for months. Creditors informed NOS today that the defaults have now risen to almost 30 million euros.

If the court rejects the cooling-off period in the coming months, previous bankruptcy applications can be taken up again the next day.

‘Financial manager on vacation’

It is unclear why the judge did not rule immediately. It could have something to do with the fact that Big Bazar boss Jerke Kooistra only came up with a final insight into the finances an hour before the case was served.

“Our financial manager only came back from vacation on Monday,” said Kooistra. According to him, the media attention has led to earlier talks about financing failing.

Several landlords, suppliers and an employment agency previously filed for bankruptcy. They were allowed to respond to the request for a cooling-off period. At the start of the hearing, the judge emphasized that none of these parties thought a cooling-off period was a good idea.

‘Way too far gone’

The bankruptcy petitioners even said they have lost faith in a happy ending for Big Bazar. The lawyer of a landlord from Terneuzen thought that the company should have taken measures much earlier.

A salient detail: Mirage, one of the creditors and the former parent company of Big Bazar, also does not believe in recovery. Their lawyer said about Kooistra: “We hear someone who hopes to get time. He says: ‘Just wait and see, it will be fine.’ But there’s just no coverage.”

September rent not paid

Kooistra himself is still confident that Big Bazar’s financial position can improve quickly: “There have been significant cuts in recent months. Of 23 loss-making stores, 12 have now been dissolved. Talks are now underway with two financiers for new working capital. “

Big Bazar expects turnover to rise sharply again in November and December. Those months are very important for retail because of the holidays.

Kooistra’s lawyer pointed out that steps have already been taken to reduce debts. For example, the back wages would have already been paid. But rent arrears are still mounting, the company admitted. “The rents of September will be paid late. That is about 800,000 euros.” The company promises that all rents will be paid by Wednesday.

But according to the landlords, that is precisely a sore point. One said through his lawyer: “First the rent would be paid on September 6. Now we already hear September 7 or 8.”

‘Special club of people’

A number of staff present also hope for this. They were present and visibly emotional. They were unexpectedly given the opportunity to speak. A member of staff expressed her support for Big Bazar and said they would put their shoulders to the wheel.

The last word was for Kooistra: “We have a very special group of people. I should have cut costs much sooner, that gives a sad feeling. If I had intervened sooner, it would not have been so high.” On Monday it will be announced whether the bankruptcy of Big Bazar is one step closer.

  • Debt Big Bazar goes ‘towards 30 million’, creditors no longer have confidence
  • Company bankruptcy, now what? ‘Curators are used to everyone always being angry with them’
  • Retail experts see a bleak future for Big Bazar
  • Economy

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