French retailer Fnac Darty gets EUR500 million state loan

PARIS (AFP) – Electronics’ retail giant Fnac Darty announced yesterday it had secured a EUR500 million loan guaranteed by the French state “to secure cash flow” and prepare for recovery after the coronavirus crisis.

Finance Minister Bruno Lemaire said the guaranteed USD544 million facility was “the first that the French state has granted to a major French company” to help it over the crisis.

The group reported “very strong growth in e-commerce, in all countries, during the lockdown” but in the first quarter of the year revenue plunged 7.9 per cent on a reported basis to EUR1.49 billion.

With stores closed sales fell 30 per cent in March, a statement said.

However e-commerce doubled over the last half of March and the first days of April.

The group had warned in mid-March it would not meet its minor growth targets and withdrew proposed dividends for 2019 – in line with government demands yesterday. “With more than EUR20 billion in loans given to 150,000 companies, the deployment of the state guaranteed loan is a reality for French companies, whatever their size” Lemaire added.

“The state-guaranteed loan is a major lever to help them overcome this economically difficult period without trouble.”