General Tire: twenty years after the bankruptcy, the leaders exonerated

General Tire: twenty years after the bankruptcy, the leaders exonerated

The liquidation of General Tire Maroc will not be extended to its managers. The Casablanca Commercial Court rendered this decision in a judgment dated June 13, 2022. It comes twenty-two years after the cessation of activity of the former subsidiary of the German group Continental.

The extension of the liquidation is a financial sanction. It strikes the leaders against whom there are mismanagements that have caused the difficulties of a company. In the case of General Tire, this sanction had been requested by the trustee in charge of the procedure, which did not convince the court.

For the time being, we do not know the reasons for the rejection. Contacted by us, sources close to the case say no more pending consultation of the judgment. On the Mahakim.ma site, the references of the file suggest that it was opened in April 2019. A judicial source indicates that the procedure is well before this date.

In reality, the request was initiated “eight or nine years ago” by the first trustee of General Tire Morocco, Ahmed Khardal. Appointed in 2001 following the company’s receivership, he was reappointed a year later after the proceedings were converted into judicial liquidation (September 30, 2002). He managed the file until 2014. Since then, he has been replaced by Mohamed Abbadi, himself replaced by Ibtissame Harrar who inherited the extension file.

A tricky case. The request of the trustee had raked wide. It targeted all the management, administration and management bodies of the former tire manufacturer. There are representatives of institutions such as CIMR, CNIA (ex-Saham), Akwa Holding, Interfina, Al Amane (ex-Axa Assurance Maroc)…

The court had appointed three experts (Rachid Sebti, Touhami Laghrissi and Mohammed Adrieb) to draw up a report. Which was not confined to the question of whether or not there was mismanagement. “The judge gave us 28 points to check. One of our missions consisted in verifying whether creditor banks of General Tire Morocco recovered money during the suspicious period”, one of the experts tells us, without revealing the conclusions of his work which “lasted for years”.

For a company in difficulty, the suspect period extends between the cessation of payment and its liquidation or recovery. Payments made during this period can be interpreted as a way of favoring one creditor to the detriment of others. In which case the judge can cancel them a posteriori.

In the case of General Tire Morocco, the cessation of payment dates back to November 20, 2000. It was placed in liquidation on September 30, 2002, falling into irremediable circumstances nearly half a century after its creation.

Founded in 1958 by General Tire Usa (53%) and the Moroccan State (Treasury 22% and SNI 20%), it was to supply tires to the entire Maghreb. Twenty years later, the German group Continental bought out General Tire USA and indirectly acquired the shares of the Moroccan subsidiary. Around 1993, the State began the privatization process, marked by the entry of Moroccan institutions into the round table (Interfina, CIMR, Al Amane, Akwa, etc.).

At the end of October 1994, General Tire Morocco had a total workforce of 700 people. Disengagement of the new buyer, loss of monopoly after the liberalization of the market, aggressive competition, social tensions within the company… The combination of several elements led the company to close up shop at the dawn of the 21st century. The classic story ofanother failed privatization.

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