Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs has come a long way. In the midst of a health crisis, the market even feared a Thomas Cook-style bankruptcy, which would have plunged the APST into a daunting situation. But the group was able to operate a spectacular recovery, in favor of a recapitalization. The group now wants to write a new chapter in its history, in which its emblematic founder, Gérard Brémond, takes a step back and prepares to take up new challenges, such as energy sobriety. Exclusive interview with Franck Gervais, its managing director.
L’Écho touristique: You joined the company when it was undergoing a major restructuring. Rumor has it that you discovered the “true” situation of the group after taking office…
Frank Gervais: No. I took up my duties as CEO of the Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs Group on January 7, 2021. This was during the third wave of Covid-19, which ultimately led to the closure of ski resorts for the entire winter season. winter. So, between the moment I decided to join the group and my official taking over, the situation changed considerably. The threat the group had was to run out of cash.
Clearly. The debt was also abysmal, right?
Frank Gervais: Before Covid-19, the level of debt was sustainable, at 245 million euros. The Covid-19 increased it by more than 850 million euros (in particular through an EMP and new financing, Editor’s note). The risk was then that the group would disappear, or be dismantled. We worked for more than a year on the rescue plan. We saved the group through a complicated procedure. Everyone has made efforts to keep the company going: our owners, our shareholders, our employees, our creditors. The good news is that after 18 months of procedure, the entire scope of the group is retained with its four brands.