Court grants Rougier permission to restructure African business

13 March 2018

International tropical hardwood specialist Rougier has gained court permission for restructuring measures after filing for insolvency protection.

The group filed for court protection this month after suffering persistent difficulties in Cameroon, where a chronic backlog at the port of Douala has caused significant operational disruption for subsidiaries in Cameroon, Congo and the Central African Republic.

The situation has led to persistent cash flow pressures, exacerbated by the delays with VAT credit reimbursements for the operational African subsidiaries.

Its application for protection was granted by Poitiers Commercial Court on Monday. Restructuring measures are to be implemented for the Rougier Afrique International business.

Rougier had been in talks with its main creditors about the situation and was supported in seeking insolvency protection. The Rougier Afrique International operation has more than two million hectares of forest concessions, several processing facilities and is a major trader in logs, sawn timber, processed products and plywood, shipping to countries all around the world.

A TTJ source said a lack of dredging at Douala Port meant large ships have not been able to be fully loaded – leaving shipments on the quay and importers short of stock. The problem of unpaid VAT refunds is said to be endemic in the region, with many companies apparantly not receiving them for many years.

Rougier will be restructuring after gaining insolvency protection