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Couach yachts under the hammer
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:55 PM
Joined: 01/05/2008
Posts: 12

Official bankruptcy auctioneers  Cazaux et Sahuquet are to put 24 yachts, the sole liquid assets,  belonging to Couach de Gujan-Mestras,  under the hammer as per orders declared by the bankruptcy court of Bordeaux on 24 June. Couach is now owned by Fabrice Vial, the founder of an industrial millworking factory employing 400 people. The businessman took on 324 contracts of the bankrupt and heavily indebted shipyard on 17th June. Twelve of the yachts up for auction are Couach own-brand and the remainder were constructed by Italian firm Uniesse Marine, German builders Van Hamburg and British firms Cara Marine and Marine Project.

Vial had made an offer of 3 millions euros to buy the yachts but the court refused the proposal, opting for greater transparency by auction.  Yachts will come under the hammer next Tuesday (18th) at the Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes and can be viewed tomorrow and Monday at Hyeres , at Saint-Mandrier in the Var and at Golfe Juan in the Alpes Maritimes.

Professionals estimate that yacht prices have dropped by 40% since last summer and guide prices for the auction reflect this. The total ‘guide price’ for the yachts exceeds 3 million euros. If the auction is a success, it should be enough to reimburse outstanding debts at six banks (Fortis, LCL, Société générale, BPSO, Caisse d'épargne, Banque de l'économie et du commerce). Next in line for payment will be social enterprises who have paid out over 1000 hours of paid leave to Coach employees, a debt that Vial chose not to take on when he took over the business in June. Small and medium size businesses with contracts at Coach  are collectively owed an estimated 6.5 million euros and hope the sharing of profits from the auction will be blocked, since they believe the liabilities of the former board of executives and former owner Didier Cazeau will not have been met.

Lawyers defending the rights of these businesses plan to hold an inquest into how Couach fell into financial difficulties estimated at 98 million euros.  Employees are currently on forced leave or short time working hours and anxiously await Vial’s proposals for new terms of employment.

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