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French retailer Fnac Darty gets 500 million euro state loan

PARIS, France, Apr 19 – Electronics retail giant Fnac Darty announced on Sunday it had secured a 500 million euro loan guaranteed by the French state “to secure cash flow” and prepare for recovery after the coronavirus crisis.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the guaranteed $544 million facility was “the first that the French state has granted to a major French company” to help it over the crisis.

The group reported “very strong growth in e-commerce, in all countries, during the lockdown” but in the first quarter of the year revenue plunged 7.9 percent on a reported basis to 1.49 billion euros.

With stores closed sales fell 30 percent in March, a statement said.

However e-commerce doubled over the last half of March and the first days of April.

The group had warned in mid-March it would not meet its minor growth targets and on Sunday withdrew proposed dividends for 2019 — in line with government demands.

“With more than 20 billion euros in loans given to 150,000 companies, the deployment of the state guaranteed loan is a reality for French companies, whatever their size” Le Maire added.

“The state-guaranteed loan is a major lever to help them overcome this economically difficult period without trouble.”

Fnac Darty’s one-year loan supported by French banks has a five-year extension option.

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