Edcon on brink of collapse - 140,000 jobs at risk

Experts say it would be SA’s biggest single jobs loss

16 December 2018 - 00:00 By KATHARINE CHILD
Edcon, which owns Edgars, is now on its third restructuring.
Edcon, which owns Edgars, is now on its third restructuring.
Image: Courtesy of Edcon

In a desperate bid to stave off liquidation and the loss of up to 140,000 jobs, retail giant Edcon has held out the begging bowl, asking its landlords for a two-year 41% "rent holiday" in exchange for a 5% stake in the business.

The debt-laden company, which owns Edgars, Jet and CNA, is on the brink of collapse  - which experts say would see SA’s biggest single jobs loss.

In a letter sent to its 31 biggest landlords, Edcon warns that unless its remedies are accepted, “it is highly likely that Edcon will enter into a liquidation process” risking 40,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs.

The group is also seeking R2bn in emergency funding from its owners and the state-owned Public Investment Corporation.

The dramatic SOS constitutes Edcon’s third restructuring in only three years to stave off  the bankruptcy of what was once one of SA’s most profitable retailers, now battling a mountain of debt, poor management decisions and changing shopping tastes.

Read the full story in the Sunday Times.