The firm Lobbying & Consulting Ltda., under the direction of Alfonso Giraldo, and representing two of the creditors of the company Justo & Bueno, is ready to present an investment plan that covers all the company’s debts, including payments salary arrears for almost 25,000 employees, rental fees for more than a thousand landlords and credits and taxes with their respective interests.
Mercaderías Justo & Bueno managed to have a share of 18.2% in the national market, becoming the second company in hard discount chains, as they are known. However, it lost liquidity and although its annual sales reached figures close to $3.2 billion per year, its debt level exceeded $1.2 billion. To start the adjustment process in the company, the firm led by the creditors must put a minimum of US$74 million on the table.
In the midst of this liquidation and recovery process, several investors have emerged, such as the Chinese group that was announced, but with which no agreement was reached.
Currently, the only group that has publicly expressed interest in joining Justo & Bueno is the representation of Alfonso Giraldo’s firm. Their proposal consists of an initial capital injection, plus the initial operating expenses required to get the merchandise up and running again.
According to him, to supply the supermarkets and put them into full operation, there is an agreement with the previous suppliers to put them into operation as soon as possible, with prior authorization from the Superintendency of Companies.
Currently, Justo & Bueno in the hard discount segment competes against D1 –whose majority shareholder is the Santo Domingo Group– and the Portuguese firm Ara, owned by Jerónimo Martins. “We want people to have what we promised, the best possible quality for a price accessible to all,” adds Giraldo.
To supply the supermarkets that come into operation, the strategy is based on products already known by the consumer, regardless of whether they are domestically produced or imported. The goal is to maintain the quality and price ratio that is expected from what was one of the companies in Retail sale largest in the country.
“The main reason to save this company is none other than respect for the work and investment of those who have lent their warehouses, trucks, counters and labor for the growth of the company,” adds Giraldo.
The process has not been easy, as creditors constantly demand payment of obligations, but “Justo & Bueno is a bogeyman, the company has no assets to liquidate. The trucks have lease and from the warehouses to the fire extinguishers they are leased”, says Giraldo, when consulting him about the non-payment of creditors.
Despite the fact that there is no defined date for the resumption of judicial obligations, Lobbying & Consulting Ltda. is optimistic about the situation, just as they demand speed in the process, since the time and money for the recovery of the company they are running out fast.
This is the profile of the new investor
One of the new investors that will seek to save Justo & Bueno is the firm Lobbying & Consulting, chaired by Alfonso Giraldo Castro.
According to their information, the consultant has worked with several multinationals that operate in Colombia and in the region, including 3M, Dupont, HELL, Western Union, Grupo Cobra and Codere. For his part, Giraldo has been a member of several boards of directors of companies such as Hidroituango and MG12, and was for more than 14 years associated with Augusto López Valencia, former president of Bavaria and who was one of the highest representatives of the Santo Domingo Group.