A group of suppliers of La Constancia maintains its claims for outstanding debts after the sale of the company’s assets that were in bankruptcy. Few days ago filed an amparo so that the dividends from the sale are not distributed between the previous shareholders while there are outstanding accounts. This precautionary measure was rejected by the courts and now the group of creditors is preparing a criminal complaint.
The La Constancia group was made up of a meat processing plant and a farm. The farm company was Madibel SA and the refrigerator company was Mirnabel SA
In February of this year, the necessary contest of the two companies. A private auction was held at the beginning of July and the best offer was submitted by the Uruguayan businessman Germán Urgal (in partnership with the Spanish group Valls Companys) for a total of US$3.55 million for the assets of the two companies. The syndicate presented a statement of accounts in which it reported that it had US$ 2.7 million for the auction of the assets.
In the commercial relationship between suppliers and companies it was normal for merchandise to be delivered to the farm but the invoice was in the name of the refrigerator. This is how the economic group made up of the two shareholders of La Constancia worked.
But when the numbers were refined after the sale of the assets in bankruptcy, a group of five creditors felt harmed. There they realized that there was something else in the commercial operation in which the farm received the products that the suppliers delivered but the refrigerator assumed the payment. It was that one company received raw materials for free and the other assumed liabilities without receiving products.
The bankruptcy regime of Uruguay does not admit economic group bankruptcy and therefore each company must do so separately. For this reason, it was agreed that the proceeds from the sale of the assets would be distributed between the contests of Mirnabel (refrigerator) with 9.52% and Madibel (farm) with 90.48%. In short, the company that had assumed the liabilities received the lowest percentage of the sale to deal with the creditors. So the five suppliers of the refrigerator cannot collect their pending credits, while the farm (Madibel) is left with approximately US$ 2 million to distribute as a dividend among the shareholders.
“The refrigerator bought you corn. What did he want it for? It was for the farm. They left all the liabilities to the refrigerator and to the farm they left it healthy”said to The Observer Santiago Fernández, spokesman for the group of five creditors of La Constancia.
“How can it be that the farm that has the pigs doesn’t have a single grain debt and that the refrigerator does?” he added.
Fernández reported that days ago the shareholders of the farm requested that the dividends be distributed. “We opposed that and were told no. So we filed a precautionary measure so that the money from the farm is frozen and not distributed, ”he said.
The creditors’ request was rejected by the bankruptcy court before the start of the fair that will last until the beginning of February.
“They can request that the fair be lifted and if the judge agrees, the money could be distributed among the shareholders. We hope that doesn’t happen,” said the merchant.
“Clearly there was a maneuver. The strongest thing was that when we asked to collect, they told us that we were not creditors of the farm, ”she explained.
In parallel, the creditors advance in a criminal complaint against the shareholders in another attempt to collect their outstanding credits. They will also wait until February to continue walking the path of bankruptcy justice.
“It would be the first bankruptcy in Uruguay in which the shareholders take money and the creditors do not,” concluded Fernández.