Blokker Belgium subsidiary at heart of multi-million euro dispute

Blokker Belgium subsidiary at heart of multi-million euro dispute
Illustration picture shows a Mega World shop, the chain that took over Belgium's Blokker shops earlier this year, in Jette, Brussels, Monday 12 October 2020. The chain would later go bankrupt. Credit: BELGA PHOTO/ THIERRY ROGE

Dirk Bron, the buyer of the Belgian subsidiary of Dutch retail chain Blokker, is in a fierce dispute with the chain’s former parent company, Dutch business newspaper Financieele Dagblad reports.

The Dutch investor is claiming several million euros from Mirage Retail Group, claiming that the value of shares that he had purchased was lower than he had been led to believe, and that the seller had misinformed him about a tax recovery.

The Dutch judicial system has dismissed Bron’s claims, according to information discerned by the Dutch newspaper from documents published by an Amsterdam court in December. The businessman was ordered to pay €1.6 million to Mirage for unpaid penalty payments relating to another trial and for the rent of the Belgian locations. Bron has appealed the verdict.

Blokker’s Belgian locations were a disaster for the company. Blokker Belgium (later Mega World) went bankrupt in December 2020, just barely 10 months after it was taken over by Dirk Bron. Most of the 123 stores were loss-making and the Dutch investor planned to transform them by adopting new branding, under the name of Mega World, but without success.

The Dutch businessman has also been suspected of a series of criminal offences, such as embezzlement and tax evasion. Bron denies these allegations.

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Financieele Dagblad discovered that, according to the court’s verdict last year, Bron had taken over Blokker’s Belgian stores for the cost of €1.

He also received a payment of €10 million, half of which was to be paid back to Mirage after six months, on the condition that he could prove that this money was only being used to save the stores.

The chain would eventually go bankrupt, resulting in the loss of 650 jobs.

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