Boulogne-Billancourt, 21 September 2018
In the various appeals filed by the BAT group against the sauvegarde proceedings opened by the Nanterre commercial court on 15 February 2017 following the orders made at first instance by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales against Sequana, the Court of Appeal of Versailles has handed down a judgment on 18 September 2018 which rescinds the judgement made on 12 June 2017 by the Nanterre commercial court adopting the sauvegarde plan for Sequana. The consequence of this decision is to reopen an observation period, for a period of 3 months.
The court of appeal of Versailles considered that the sauvegarde plan ought to have provided for the maximum amount of the claims filed by the BAT group (which correspond to the repayment of the 1st dividend of 443 million euros and of the 2nd dividend of 135 million euros), and not only for the amount of the 2nd dividend plus interest, which Sequana has been ordered to pay back by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales on 10 February 2017. The BAT group itself eventually dropped its claim with respect to the 1st dividend before the hearing held at the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in June 2018.
Sequana acknowledges this decision, which does not affect its business nor that of its subsidiaries, and is assessing possible appeals. The company will file a new sauvegarde plan with the Nanterre commercial court within the 3 month deadline.
This decision does not affect the operations conducted in the past. In particular, the Court of Appeal of Versailles has confirmed, in another judgment on the same day, the decision made by the Nanterre commercial court confirming the order which had authorised Sequana to distribute a dividend in shares of Antalis, thus allowing for the listing of Antalis.
With respect to the case between Sequana and the BAT group in England, the company still awaits the judgement of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales which is due to decide whether the 135 million euro dividend should be repaid, as the BAT group have dropped their claims with respect to the distribution of the 1st dividend of 443 million euros as mentioned above. This decision is expected before the end of this year.
Sequana (Euronext Paris: SEQ), is a major player in the paper industry, boasting leading positions in each of its two businesses:
- Antalis: leader in B2B distribution of Papers and industrial Packaging and number two in the distribution of Visual Communication media in Europe with around 5,500 employees based in 43 countries.
- Arjowiggins: Global manufacturer of recycled and specialty papers, with around 2,300 employees.
Sequana reported sales of €2.8 billion in 2017 and employed some 7,800 people worldwide.
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