Moulinex files for bankruptcy

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The Independent Online

French appliance maker Moulinex is filing for bankruptcy, the company announced today.

"Moulinex–Brandt and its subsidiaries have just placed themselves under the protection of judicial administrators," said Chief Executive Patrick Puy after a meeting of top managers.

Dozens of union members barricaded the entrance of a plant in the western town of Cormelles–le–Royal, about 110 miles west of Paris, before the announcement.

"Today, after this meeting, there are only two possibilities: a request for liquidation or nothing," said Didier Mesnil, a leader of the Worker's Force union, shortly before the announcement. "We are worried."

On Thursday, authorities suspended the company's shares on the Paris Stock Exchange until Monday.

Le Monde said today that the company had struggled to pay for its restructuring plan and faced mounting concern among creditors.

The restructuring called for 4,000 job cuts worldwide by 2003, of which 1,500 in France.

Moulinex merged with Brandt last year.

Moulinex Brandt, which manufactures everything from electric razors to makers and food processors, has a total of 21,500 employees worldwide and a commercial presence in 170 countries. It had sales of 2.6 billion euros (about £1.6 billion) last year.