Beneficial interest GIB: 47.13%
AvH Contact: Piet Dejonghe
2016 was marked by a further deterioration of the French economic situation and a difficult restaurant market. After an exceptional 2015 due to the terrorist attacks, 2016 was stained by the attack on the evening of July 14 in Nice. These events prevented a recovery of the market. Groupe Flo continued to feel the consequences of the general downturn in restaurant visits, even though some positive signs could be seen at the end of 2016.
This downturn affected all chains, except for Tablapizza, which ended 2016 with a slightly positive result after a year of transition since the launch of the new concept and the review of the product offering. The brasseries continued to be heavily affected by the collapse of tourism in Paris. Hippopotamus more or less followed the market trend, but went through some difficult periods. In the second half of 2016, the first new-generation Hippopotamus opened on the Place de la Bastille. The next projects are in the pipeline. This new look represents a thoroughgoing modernization of the concept in line with the spirit of the times. Finally, the concessions continued to be profitable in 2016, even though this year there was a lower level of activity at the Disney sites.
The process of selling off non-strategic sites was accelerated in 2016 in order to make the necessary resources available to finance and reposition the operations. The group’s general organization was optimized further and keeps evolving in order to face the challenges as well as possible.
In view of the impact of this very difficult context on its performance and cash position, Groupe Flo reached an agreement with its banks in early December 2016 for a standstill until the end of April 2017. The group also announced it would reconsider its strategic options. In that context, Groupe Flo received non-binding offers in February 2017 for the acquisition of certain assets or for investments in the capital of Groupe Flo. Such operations, to which several conditions are attached, will in that case also require an agreement on the restructuring of the bank debts.
Because of the uncertainty associated with the developments described above, Groupe Flo had not yet adopted its annual financial statements when AvH’s consolidated annual figures for 2016 were adopted. At year-end 2016, AvH measured its (indirect) shareholding in Groupe Flo at the stock market price at year-end 2016.