Seci (Maccaferri) at the end of the line: story of an announced failure

Seci (Maccaferri) at the end of the line: story of an announced failure

The article by Cristina D'Amicis

After 142 years of history, Maccaferri could have come to an end: the Court of Bologna decreed the bankruptcy of Seci, the holding company of the Maccaferri family, deeming the composition plan presented by the group on May 18 last year inadmissible.

Legal to work for the appeal even if the way to go seems to be far from simple considering that Seci already in 2015 needed a massive restructuring and that what has been done so far would only have served to delay its bankruptcy.

COURT OF BOLOGNA DECLARES SECI BANKRUPTCY

With sentence no. 70/2021 the Civil Court of Bologna decreed the bankruptcy of SECI SOCIETÀ ESERCIZI COMMERCIALI INDUSTRIALI SPA, the holding of the Maccaferri family which also has the famous Tuscan cigar in its belly.

We are talking about the end of the Maccaferri group, with 142 years of history behind it, one of the oldest, most prestigious and important industrial groups in the country.

In 2019 the Group boasted 57 plants and a total turnover of 1,039 billion euros, employing more than 3,000 employees.

Seven main areas of activity: Officine Maccaferri (Environmental Engineering), Manifatture Sigaro Toscano (Tobacco), Sadam (Food and Agroindustry), Samp (Mechanical Engineering), Seci Real Estate (Buildings) and Seci Energia (Energy) and JCube (hub of innovation).

Seci attempted to save itself until the end presenting a stand alone plan that did not convince the judge of the bankruptcy division of the regional capital, the demand for composition proceedings by Seci 18 last May has been deemed "unacceptable" because of " serious irregularities and shortcomings ".

The examination of the passive status before the delegated judge Antonella Rimondini: bankruptcy trustees of Seci Enrica Piacquaddio, Antonio Rossi and Claudio Solferini has been set for November 25, 2021.

BECAUSE THE SECI AGREEMENT PLAN WAS REJECTED

The bankruptcy of Seci decreed by the Court of Bologna is not a bolt from the blue considering that already in February 2020 the Prosecutor had found that the accounts and investigations of the Finance revealed "an evident and manifest state of insolvency" . In particular, there was talk of "irreversible insolvency" and "serious financial distress" caused by a negative equity of 65 million euros at 31 December 2018.

The composition plan presented by Seci in March 2020, then modified over time, for the chief prosecutor Giuseppe Amato, the adjunct Francesco Caleca and the deputy prosecutor Nicola Scalabrini, would have only temporarily postponed the bankruptcy without putting in place the necessary tools for a timely emergence from the crisis.

"The concatenation of procedures and additions leads us to believe that the applicant has abused the arrangement with creditors", the Bolognese judges write, explaining that "the plan and the proposal have been reworked and modified several times, introducing different critical profiles". In essence, Seci would have attempted to pass a structurally and substantially liquidation plan as a “going concern”.

The request for an arrangement with creditors, filed on 18 May , centered on the repayment of creditors on the proceeds from the sale of a series of assets and on the support of Europa Investimenti.

SECI'S COUNTERFEIT: LEGALS TO WORK BY APPEAL

Seci seems not to have digested the decision taken by the Court of Bologna and prepares the appeal. According to some press rumors, the Maccaferri group's lawyers are working to define the strategy to follow for challenging the bankruptcy declaration, a very difficult path given that "there are no real elements" to support the appeal. Indeed, there would appear to be no continuity but only liquidation.

HOW MUCH IS SECI'S DEBT

The total gross debt of Seci already in 2019 amounted to over 600 million euros while at the moment it would seem to be equal to approximately 750 million euros: 500 million in the form of financial debts, with 90 million euros to banks and bondholders .

To cope with this, the Maccaferri safe has already sold a series of assets, such as the subsidiary Agripower, specialized in the management and maintenance of biogas plants in October 2020 for 10.1 million euros while at the end of January 2021 it was the turn of some assets of the subsidiary Sadam spa for 2.6 million euros passed into the hands of the Roman real estate company Gibbi srl . In particular, it received 1 million for 100% of Naturalia Ingredients; 1.4 million euros for the former sugar site in Castiglion Fiorentino and 156 thousand euros for the former sugar site in Villasor.

Also sold at the end of January the investment in S.Solar for 5.9 million euros and the energy company Eva for 450 thousand euros.

SECI: WHICH ASSETS REMAIN TO SELL

At the moment, Seci can only count on the sale of some properties owned by Seci Real Estate, a company that boasts the famous North Rome logistics hub used by Amazon to serve all of Centrosud.

Powercrop, specialized in biomass electricity production plants, is also on the list of assets to be sold.

51% of the stake held in Manifatture Sigaro Toscano (MST), on the other hand, is not touched as an important cash generator for Seci. We recall that the remaining 49% is in the hands of Piero Gnudi, Luca Montezemolo, Aurelio Regina, Francesco Valli and Matteo Tamburini and that in the past there were rumors, then denied, about an interest of Gnudi and Montezemolo on the entire Seci.

THE WHITE KNIGHT APOLLO AND THE "NO" OF SECI

In the belief that it could do it alone, the Maccaferri family holding company rejected the White Knight Apollo. In mid-May 2021 Seci decided not to accept the rescue proposal made by Apollo Global Management through Apeiron Management spa, which had put € 215 million on the table to immediately pay off all debts with senior creditors and 15% of the unsecured credits. Previously, exactly in March 2021, Apollo had submitted a non-binding proposal of less than the last of 50 million euros.

Apeiron does not seem to have stopped in front of Seci's refusal , buying a large part of Seci's debt at a strong discount from banks and creditors while waiting to unleash a new move.


This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/economia/seci-maccaferri-al-capolinea-storia-di-un-fallimento-annunciato/ on Sun, 08 Aug 2021 13:12:18 +0000.