Codere seeks to end Sampedro drama at ‘critical AGM’

Bolsa Madrid gambling firm Grupo Codere SA is set to host a ‘critical showdown’ at its annual general meeting set for Monday 26 July, as corporate stakeholders seek to settle the governance dispute between US debt holders and the enterprise founding Martínez Sampedro family.

Spanish business news sources report, that Codere investors will seek to remove Martínez Sampedro board representatives’ Jose Antonio (former Group President) and brother Luis Javier (former VP) with two new appointments.

The embattled Spanish gambling group seeks to end a two-year dispute, which has seen its corporate governance structures challenged by the Martínez Sampedro family in Madrid and Connecticut District courts.

Maintaining 18% of Codere capital, the Martínez Sampedro’s state that the firm’s US private equity investors have illegally revoked the family’s board representation and voting rights.

Furthermore, the founding family maintains that US debt holders Prudential and Silverpoint Capital, Codere’s biggest shareholders, did not follow the correct corporate control procedures bypassing a ‘recommended takeover’ offer once they acquired a 30% of the corporate shareholding.

US debt holders have stood against the appeals, stating that they had a right to revoke Martínez Sampedro board representation as part of the firm’s combined €1 billion bankruptcy restructure undertaken between 2014-2016.

Preparing for its July AGM, corporate stakeholders seek to resolve the bitter dispute, as Codere seeks to implement a new corporate recovery programme, which will require additional working capital and governance approval.

Closing 2018 accounts, Codere recorded group-wide losses of €40 million, primarily attached to the ‘Peso collapse’ witnessed in Argentina, the group’s biggest operational market.

A nightmare 2018, saw Codere’s share price collapse from €10 (January price) to €3, with the embattled Bolsa Madrid operator maintaining a long-term debt of + €850 million.

Seeking to soothe investor concerns, in January Codere’s executive team led by new Chief Executive Vicente Di Loreto, presented the firm’s ‘Horizon 2021’ corporate recovery programme focusing on revamping Codere’s digital platforms and expanding the Spanish legacy gambling group in the new markets of Mexico and Brazil.

Moving to implement the directive, Codere governance has detailed that it will require a minimum of €200 million in working capital, which may be pursued via a public share placement requiring a wholesale governance approval, highlighting the need for closure on its boardroom dispute.

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