The tension was palpable, this June 28 in the morning, at the Nanterre commercial court. The latter was responsible for deciding on the future of Geoxia, the builder of the Phénix, Familiale or Castor houses, placed in receivership on May 24 .
A few dozen people were feverishly waiting to be fixed. There were employee representatives, the chairman of the company’s management board, Olivier Bersihand, several lawyers and also some worried partners. Like this owner of premises rented from a Geoxia agency, who indicated that she had not received her rents since March.
The court finally decided on the liquidation of Geoxia. The two offers presented by buyers were not considered solid. As for the offer of the management of the company, it was conditional on a contribution of 80 million euros by the State which did not follow up.
” A lot of emotions “
For the company, it’s the end of a long history that began in 1946 with its creation around the Phénix brand, which was for a long time the emblem of the inexpensive house accessible to low-income households. “There was a lot of emotion in the room, personally, I cried”, says a representative of the employees present at the hearing.
“It’s a waste,” reacted Olivier Bersihand, who continues to believe that his company should have benefited from a loan guaranteed by the State during the Covid-19 crisis. “Orders made in 2021 for Family homes were the best in the last ten years. And we had started to address a new clientele – middle-class families – for Phoenix houses, “he said, while low-income households no longer necessarily had the means to acquire them.
“The activity stops now. The employees are going home, with the exception of a few who will help close the administrative files,” he continued.
Two sites are now open. The first is to ensure the future of the 1,140 Geoxia employees who will find themselves unemployed. The Ministry of Economy and Finance has pledged to help them get rehired elsewhere. Which, he assures, should not pose too much of a problem in a sector in great need of manpower.
As for the AGS, the wage guarantee scheme financed by the bosses, it has taken up the case so that Geoxia employees can quickly receive what is due to them, as soon as it has been seized by the legal representative. . Namely their June wages, plus their severance pay.
It must also be ensured that despite the liquidation of Geoxia, the approximately 1,600 projects in progress can be completed. Here again, a guarantee system provided for by law must play its part. Insurers will get closer to customers in the coming days.
Hearing on July 5
But a specific problem arises for Phoenix houses, whose concrete panels and metal structures are manufactured in factories. And whose constructive method is unique in France. This means that another house builder cannot replace Geoxia to complete the work.
This is why, and “in order to limit the loss for customers”, Bercy has offered to finance the continued operation of two of Geoxia’s factories, up to 7 million euros, the time to manufacture the parts necessary to the completion of the works undertaken. These are Phénix Métal Industrie and Geoxia Components, which between them employ around 80 people.
A new hearing is scheduled for July 5 before the Commercial Court of Nanterre in order to place these two entities in liquidation, with an authorization to continue operating for three months.