Around 30 haulage firms employing 2,000 staff from the Brittany region of France, including owner-operators, have welcomed a court decision extending the period in administration of bankrupt French poultry processing group, Doux.

Many of the firms had feared insolvency as a result of a default on payments owed to them by Doux if a recovery plan for the firm submitted by its management the court or the firm was rejected in favour of a takeover offer.

"The recovery plan makes provision to settle all oustanding payments to hauliers whereas with the takeover offers we had no written guarantee that this would be the case. So it’s relief all round even though we’ll remain vigilant until we paid in full," Anthony Rouxel. general secretary of the Brittany branch of France’s biggest road haulage association, the FNTR, told Lloyds Loading today.

About 50% of a total of €8 million owed to the hauliers is expected to be paid by the end of next month and the remainder by the end of November when Doux’s period in administration is set to end, Rouxel said.

Last month, he told Lloyd’s Loading that the hauliers had problems in obtaining diesel due to cash-flow problems of their own and that it would only be a matter of time before they would have to withdraw their services.

"It’s been an extrememy difficult few weeks, bu they can now go to their creditors and say look, we now have a guarantee that we will be paid which means we can now settle our bills with you."

However, he emphasised that the hauliers would probably have to accept smaller volumes of business with Doux in the future as the group’s fresh products division is set to be liquidated unless a buyer can be found.

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