Iconic bicycle wheel manufacturer Mavic has been placed in receivership, according to a report in the Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday.
But, the details seem pretty hazy, with confusion around who actually owns the company, and who is responsible for it. The unions are calling for an investigation...
The French unions have demanded accountability from former parent company Salomon and its main shareholder Amer Sports after the company was sold in 2018.
"The Grenoble commercial court declared us in receivership on May 2, with an observation period of six months," Gérard Meunier, secretary of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE), told AFP.
Mavic employs 250 people worldwide including 200 in France. A heritage brand, created in 1889, it has been a supplier of the Tour de France for 40 years - its iconic yellow cars and motorbikes providing neutral service. In 2017 the company extended its contract with ASO through 2022.
Former parent company Salomon sold Mavic last year to a Californian investment fund Regent LP, according to a report in a France3 regional news report. Prior to the sale, Amer Sports, a Finnish group that is the main shareholder of Salomon, removed Mavic from its 2018 accounts. Amer Sport was then bought by a Chinese group in March 2019.
"Amer Sports wanted to sell us, we were told we found Regent LP. Regent people came to Annecy in July 2019 to tell us that we were a sleeping gem, that they believed in Mavic. And since then, nothing. Not an investment, not an answer," Meunier said.
France 3 reported that Mavic has been in financial difficulty and placed in conciliation procedure in December. A court administrator was later appointed to find out the details of the exchange between Regent LP and Amer Sport.
"A few days ago, staff representatives learned that, contrary to what had been publicly announced, Salomon had not sold their business to Regent LP but to a company M Sports, based in Delaware (USA), with no capital link with Regent."
The court administrator is now looking into the conditions that Salomon and the Amer Sports group sold Mavic, along with details of M Sports and how it acquired Mavic.
Meunier: "Employees have been worried for a long time, years that we asked to raise our heads and have investments. There, now, we would have to find a buyer with a real project and who wants to stay in the Annecy basin”.