Dutch takeover of Algarve Alisupers leaves workers fearing the worst

Workers involved in a doomed bid to revive the Alisuper supermarket chain have seen a restructuring plan vetoed as Dutch group SPAR is reported to have its eye on 12 of the the 25 trouble-torn supermarkets.

While SPAR is vowing to safeguard the 78 jobs involved, workers say this isn’t the point.

Many of them signed on the dotted line back in 2012 to help their company fight bankruptcy.

The million euro loan that they took out was ‘assured’ by the N&F subsidiary of Alisuper owners Group Nogueira – but as this has now filed for insolvency, they fear repayments may fall back on their shoulders.

Protesting outside one of the Alisuper outlets in Silves yesterday, workers told TVI that some hadn’t been paid since January, others were waiting for payments relating to 2015.

In all 129 workers are involved, with a salary backlog of around €100,000.

But the real worry is the loan.

“I am owed back pay and credits,” explained one. “But the loan is what concerns me most, as I don’t want to pay a cent of it.”

Group Nogueira is for now “not answering questions”, says TVI, and the €1 million headache is possibly the least of its worries.

According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, the group owes more than €35 million of which “€11 million is in the financial system” – payments to the State and Social Security.

N&F came up with a ‘restructuring plan’ which has not had the support of creditors, and has now filed for bankruptcy, confirms CM.

“Enter stage right” SPAR is hoping to buy-up much of the collateral damage for just €850,000.

The 12 shops SPAR has its eyes on are in Albufeira (three), Lagos (two), Algoz, Armação de Pêra, Boliqueime, Monte Gordo, Portimão, Silves and Vila Real de Santo António.

SPAR already owns 15 shop in the Algarve, and 400 in 40 countries, adds the paper.

Alisuper has been in trouble in the Algarve for years – having originally been owned by the brother of the former mayor of Silves, Isabel Soares.

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See video of protest here: http://tviplayer.iol.pt/video/56e1e1660cf221dcc3d0df7d