Grupo SOS, the owner of Carbonell and Bertolli olive oils, remains in talks to restructure its debt and renegotiate a EUR994m (US$1.39bn) loan.
The company, which yesterday (21 May) named a new CEO and launched legal proceedings against two former executives over a company loan scandal, has asked Credit Suisse to look into its balance sheet and handle a EUR200m planned share issue.
A source close to SOS said the company was “still working” on renegotiating the EUR994m syndicated loan after breaking certain covenants on the lending agreement.
The details of SOS’s planned share issue are unclear but the company is keen to shore up its balance sheet following the loan scandal involving ex-chairman Jesús Salazar and former CEO Jaime Salazar.
The Salazars, who remain major shareholders in SOS, used a loan from the business to buy company shares. They then planned to sell the stock to an Arab sovereign wealth fund through a holding company called Condor Plus, a move that had not been approved by the SOS board. The affair caused SOS to restate its 2008 results and report a net loss of EUR190m.
The Spanish group has launched legal action against the two men but refused to be drawn on what it hoped to achieve from the lawsuit.
In the meantime, SOS has named former Leche Pascual executive Jose Manuel Muriel as its new CEO.
Muriel will join SOS from Spanish car maker Santana Motor. His career includes positions at General Motors and the dairy firm Leche Pascual.
The source told just-food that Muriel was appointed due to his business experience in Spain and in the food sector.
“Mr. Muriel was chosen because of his great reputation as manager of big companies in Spain and his wide experience in the food sector,” the source said.