Lebanon's Co-op rescue plan faces problems
The Saudi rescue package aimed at saving the cash-strapped Co-op supermarket chain seemed in doubt this week after Co-op officials postponed the contract signing to continue negotiations.
The plan was approved by Co-op shareholders at last week’s general assembly, however, Co-op officials have asked for two more days to review the contract terms. The agreement would see the current management made employees of the Saudi Al-Muhaidib Group’s Giant Stores and give Co-op 6 percent of annual sales — about $9 million based on last year’s sales — with which it would pay off debts and cover administrative costs.
Co-op shareholders are afraid that their interests are not being protected by the managers of the supermarket chain, who have been accused of fraud and embezzlement. This week, seven local companies
filed charges of embezzlement, fraud and issuing bad checks against Co-op general manager Munir Farghal and the president of the board, Abdul Hamid Yamout.
Since no final solution has been reached yet, some shareholders are considering a protest outside the presidential palace, hoping to convince President Emile Lahoud to find a solution that would save the company and its 2,000 employees. — ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)