Andre wins court protection

by Emily Wilson
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Andre et Cie, a major international trader of grain and other commodities, recently obtained court protection from creditors after a group of 43 banks failed to agree on keeping Andre's credit lines open.

Earlier this year, Andre initiated a major restructuring calling for a dramatic reduction in its work force and the sale of some industrial businesses (see World Grain, February 2001, page 12). At the time, Andre said it would retain its core business of trading in wheat, oilseeds, rice, coffee and cocoa.

"Without normal access to its credit lines, the activity of the group had to be dramatically decreased," Andre said in a statement announcing it was seeking protection from creditors. "After eight weeks of negotiations and waiting, the company is at present paralyzed and its revenues from commercial activities are severely compromised."

An estimated 60% of the company's 1,430 jobs were eliminated in the January restructuring move. The company said it was faced with bank debt of more than U.S.$400 million.