Future still uncertain for Algarve group

By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]

A group of 400 Alicoop workers and suppliers, who travelled to Lisbon on Tuesday to defend their jobs, found that their time was wasted after a creditors meeting failed to take place.

The protest was aimed at encouraging the bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), one of the group’s main creditors, to approve a recovery plan, which should have already been presented to Silves court (see the Algarve Resident edition November 20, 2009).

A creditors meeting, which was scheduled to take place around 5pm that day, was cancelled because representatives from the main creditor bank CGD failed to turn up. Although one bank, BCP, agreed to be part of a plan to save the group, Alicoop administration and employees are worried about the future after the three main creditor banks, CGD, BPI and BPN, failed to approve a recovery plan. 

According to Alicoop president José António Silva, representatives from the three banks also did not turn up to the last creditors meeting in the capital.

He added that the closure of the group would lead to 500 direct job losses and around 200 indirect job losses “which would have drastic socio-economic consequences”.

One supplier of the Alisuper supermarket chain, part of the Alicoop group, who asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “I am owed several thousand euros from stock that has been delivered. If the group is not saved, I fear that my family will never see the money that is owed to us and it will cause a lot of misery to many families across the Algarve.”

Alisuper supermarkets were closed on the day of the protest, while several Algarve câmaras provided buses to transport the protesters to the capital.

In a statement to the Algarve Resident, Algarve MEP and regional PSD party president Mendes Bota said: “It is difficult to understand the position of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Portugal’s largest financial institution, which should be the government’s strong arm to intervene in supporting small and medium companies, or other businesses that are in difficulty but have the possibility to recover, as is the case of Alicoop.”

He added that it was this bank that requested a study to be carried out into the viability of the group by Deloitte, which concluded that Alicoop could be saved, but then the bank became the main obstacle against the recovery.

“This is a very strange position,” he said.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]