Bawag has to Sell Non-Core Business
The Austrian bank, which is owned by the US-American investor Cerberus, is obliged to sell its non-banking subsidiaries.
Because of EU-directives, the Bawag has to divest its retail business. The bank, which was formerly owned by the Austrian trade union ÖGB, still possesses several shoe trade chains, such as “Delka”, “Stiefelkönig” and “Geox”.
Bawag already had sale talks with the German Ara Group. The German company is interested in the 35 Delka-branches. Ara claims guarantees for potential inherited liabilities, so conclusion of the contract has been delayed. The price is said to be below € 10m. The final agreement is expected to take place in February.
The 20 Geox-branches, which were managed via franchise agreements with the Italian shoe manufacturer Geox, will be sold the producer. By the beginning of February, the sale contract is said to be concluded.
The third retail chain, Stiefelkönig, has several potential buyers. The real estate investor Jamal Al-Wazzan is one of them. Al-Wazzan is interested in 40 to 50 of the 70 branches. The investor criticizes the quality of the position. “In my opinion, 60 out of 70 stores are in a bad position. The transaction would be interesting, if the 10 stores in good position are sold too.” Al-Wazzan already acquired the fashion chain Schöps in August 2008. Meanwhile, Schöps has been closed, the former fashion retail chain is now a real estate company.
Another potential buyer is the Styrian Ringschuh. CEO Wilfried Haml comments: “The talks were anything but good.” According to Haml, he had problems with the contact persons.
However, the talks between Bawag and Al-Wazzan are expected to be finalized soon. The investor is said to wait for the annual financial statements 2010. For Al-Wazzan, Stiefelkönig is still valuable. He already stated not to liquidize the stores like Schöps.
For now, the only successful sale has been “Turbo Schuh”, which has been sold to the German shoe retailer Deichmann.