The Chief Executive Officer of SMSP, with the agreement of the board’s members, requested and obtained from the Commercial Court of Noumea the opening of a safeguard procedure for the company.
The launching of this procedure will allow SMSP to do two things:
– Freeze debts prior to the opening of the procedure,
– Provide the group with a 6-month observation period (renewable once) to establish a debt repayment plan. This will then be presented to the Commercial Court for validation.
Far from being hasty, this decision is the result of discussions that began in February 2020, when the Group’s General Management notes that the repayment of deadlines may be compromised from June 2021.
At that time, the Chief Executive Officer contacted the banks and his usual partners to consider restructuring the debt. The company’s financial partners, namely the Caisse d’Epargne Ile de France (CEIDF), BRED and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), confirmed their support throughout the discussions. Its shareholder, SOFINOR and the Northern Province, the guarantor of SMSP, have also shown the same support.
Unfortunately, the legal constraints imposed on the community are not compatible with the requirements of the banks’ credit committees.
Therefore, SMSP decided to use a legal tool for the protection of companies, namely the safeguard procedure.
Karl THERBY, Chief Executive Officer of SMSP explains: “The safeguard is a procedure available to companies to protect them and guarantee their continuity of operation. SMSP will therefore use it to have the necessary time to set up its repayment plan.
This is not the end of SMSP because it should not be confused with a liquidation procedure. We are aware of the efforts to be made for the group and by its subsidiaries. The market is very competitive and more and more complex, but we remain confident in the future of the group and in all the employees of our subsidiaries.
SMSP, within the framework of this procedure, retains all its rights and obligations as shareholder towards its subsidiaries. The daily life of the latter remains unchanged in their management but also from a social point of view. Each subsidiary must remain focused on the safety of its employees and on improving its performance. We would like to thank all the teams for their daily commitment.”