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Unicoop files for bankruptcy
22 septembre 1999
Even if the Crédit Agricole was ready to write off part of its debt, no agreement could be reached with the other two banks (BNP and Société Générale) and Unicoop, the only cooperative of any importance trading in cognac, was forced to file for bankruptcy. The worry now is to see the cooperative’s 30,000 hl of pure alcohol arrive on the market to pay its debts as this would destabilize the market. Unicoop now employs only 14 people but 500 winegrowers depend upon it either entirely or partly. The sales branch (H. Mounier) is doing well and still employs 36 people.

Cognacs Hardy : court decision suspended
22 septembre 1999
The Court of Appeal in Bordeaux has decided to suspend the application of the ruling made in July by the commercial court in Cognac concerning Cognacs Hardy (30 employees) : the cognac house, placed under a court-imposed recovery plan at the start of the year, will not be taken over by Grands Vins Jean-Claude Boisset (market leader for crème de cassis, turnover of 1.4 billion francs, 650 employees) which had offered 6 million francs and the retention of 24 Hardy employees. The Court of Appeal will give its ruling on 25 October and continue with the process of appointing a suitable takeover candidate. Klesch Company Partners (a pension fund group), which has the backing of the Hardy family, has indicated its interest.

Boisset and KCP in struggle for Hardy
15 septembre 1999
Will the Hardy cognac firm, under a court-imposed recovery plan since the beginning of the year, go to Grands Vins Jean-Claude Boisset (market leader for crème de cassis, turnover of 1.4 billion francs, 650 employees) or to Klesch Company Partners (a pension fund group) ? In July the Cognac commercial court chose Boisset and their offer of 6 million francs and the retention of 24 Hardy employees (out of about thirty). However KCP, which has the backing of the Hardy family, lodged an appeal several weeks later. The decision of the Court of Appeal in Bordeaux will be known shortly.

The Cognac Café sells its fittings
15 septembre 1999
Faced with proceedings brought by Urssaf (social security contribution collection office) and cash flow problems, the attractive idea of the Cognac Café which sells only cognac and all sorts of cognac cocktails is threatened with closure. The fittings are to be auctioned on Wednesday 15 September as a result of the intervention of a bailiff. The owner, Gérard Dubois-Dupoulain is hoping to have this sale postponed while he awaits a court decision on 23 September which could provide additional money. Based on examples abroad where bars belong to the breweries which use them for promotional purposes, the Cognac Café was opened in June on the Place François 1er in Cognac.

Change at the top at Martell
15 septembre 1999
Robert Pouchayret, 45, is taking over from Patrick Firino-Martell, currently the head of Martell cognacs, who will remain as chairman of the board. R. Pouchayret was in charge of production and development in Eastern Europe for the Bongrain group. Four other senior executives will also take advantage of the redundancy plan for employees aged 52 and over (65 altogether) and leave the company on 30 September. The workforce at Martell should stand at about 410 employees, about half the number ten years ago.

Cognac : exports disappointing in June
1er septembre 1999
Cognac exports in June fell by 12.5 % (to 21,955 hl) compared to June 1998. The fall stands at 6.2 % over a year to 117,195 hl whereas sales on the domestic market rose by 6.9 % (to 10,490 hl).

Tenderness versus whisky
1er septembre 1999
The Planty distillery in Cognac intends to supplant whisky and Bailey’s with "Tendresse", a cognac cream to be served as an aperitif.

Redundancies at Renault-Bisquit
8 août 1999
The Renault-Bisquit cognac company (97 employees, member of the Pernod Ricard group) is closing its entire sales, marketing and export department which is being transferred to the group headquarters in Marseille. About thirty jobs are disappearing including 9 redundancies. The Lignières site will now concentrate on production and bottling.

Unicoop : conciliation difficult with the banks
8 août 1999
Conciliation between the banks and Unicoop, which enabled the company to stave off bankruptcy two years ago despite substantial debts, has taken a turn for the worse. Even though Crédit Agricole (80 %) is the main creditor, the reluctance of the Société Générale and the BNP, which are the other creditors, could take Unicoop back to square one. Unicoop now employs only 14 people and its sales branch H. Mounier has 60 employees compared to 116 in 1997. The distillery at St Aigulin has been closed and the one at St Sulpice is idling. 500 wine growers still depend partially or totally on Unicoop to sell their produce.

Crime Festival : another 3 years
8 août 1999
The standing committee of the BNIC (cognac inter-professional national bureau) has extended its backing for the Cognac Crime Film Festival for another 3 years. The BNIC gave 2.1 million francs to the Festival association this year.

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