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Canadian Chocolate Company Bernard Callebaut Forced into Bankruptcy

After 27 years and a fixture of the Canadian chocolate landscape, Bernard Callebaut, scion of the Callebaut family, has been forced into receivership. Cause of the move is reportedly an ill-timed real estate deal - a property the company purchased in 2007 for $5 million recently received an offer of just $2 million.


Any thoughts?

Read the full posting on the bankruptcy action.

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In my opinion, there's much more to it.

Banks don't want to own property, and the Courts here in Canada don't want to shut businesses down. They want the banks to to hold mortgages and they want their mortgage holders to pay the monthly installments. Here in Canada, all parties will in many cases be quite flexible with co-operative mortgagees / business owners in order to avoid costly legal fees and job loss ramifications here in Canada - especially with a well known and respected businessman such Mr. Callebaut.

Monthly installments on a property such as that would be around $40,000 per month - something that could easily be absorbed by the cashflow generated by 30+ stores.

Having said that, if he liquidated the property for a $3M loss, it would offset his taxable gains and drop his monthly payment to around $25,000 per month - a number that's easily doable, given the fact that the loss would be declared to Revenue Canada and offset the taxes he would pay from company profits. Essentially, the bank would get their money, and Revenue Canada would get $150,000 less tax revenue.

The challenge is that Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut is a privately held company. He's under NO obligation to provide public financials, and as a result can feed the media with whatever BS he wants in attempt to shift blame, or smooth things over. All we as readers, can do, is accept what he's telling the media as the truth.

However, as a successful businessman, I know that you don't get forced into receivership by a creditor holding a small portion of the assets of the business, unless that creditor has significant inside information to warrant risking asset liquidation and even distribution among OTHER creditors of the company by the appointed receiver in order to secure their equity.

...just my thoughts, and goodness knows I've been receiving calls and thinking about this for the past 24 hours. After all, my shop is his primary competition here in Calgary.

Yes, well, isn't that a reflection of the times ?!?! The upcoming 4th quarter isn't going to be any easier for many.


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