The new management of Orpea invited financial analysts and the press at 10:30 a.m. to a hotel in western Paris to present this plan, which aims to put the company of 71,000 employees back on track, including 26,000 in France.
In recent weeks, it has already indicated that it wants to improve the support for residents (the group has some 90,000 beds in its nursing homes and clinics), its management of employees and its managerial practices. Three fields at the heart of the denunciations detailed in “Les Fossoyeurs”, published in January by journalist Victor Castanet.
The group which manages more than 350 establishments in France for dependent elderly people is the subject of an investigation for institutional mistreatment and financial crimes.
“We have taken many decisions aimed at restoring good practices in the company”, recently declared Laurent Guillot, a former Saint-Gobain who became general manager of Orpea in July after the departure of the previous team.
Among the first measures taken: the dismissal of employees and managers “who had behaved unethically”. The group’s board of directors has also been renewed.
Still, a major financial obstacle stands in the way of the creation of the “new Orpea”: the group is saddled with a debt of 9.5 billion euros. And its title has lost 90% of its value on the Paris Stock Exchange.
In the first half, the group present in 23 countries achieved a gross operating surplus (profit from its operations) of 415 million euros and a turnover of 2.3 billion euros.
– Impact on employees and residents –
In this context, investors hope to see in the transformation plan “solutions to ensure the proper operation of the group and generate cash on a recurring and sustainable basis”, Yi Zhong, an analyst at Alpha Value, told AFP.
Shareholders have thrown in the towel, such as the investment company Mirova, which sold its 4% stake.
Two French groups, Mat Immo Beaune and Nextstone, entered the capital, up to more than 5%, to “accompany” the management in the recovery of the group. But they oppose his strategy to reduce the debt burden.
Management wants to convert part of the debt into capital and raise new money again, in debt and in capital, which would dilute the share of those who already appear in the capital of Orpea.
The press evokes the entry into the capital of the Caisse des dépôts, the financial arm of the State. The organization did not exclude this hypothesis, without advancing figures.
Contacted by AFP, she indicates that she will “examine the file” when “two conditions” are met: a “complete” change in Orpea’s practices and a “sanitized” balance sheet.
To renegotiate its debt with its creditors, Orpea initiated for the second time this year an amicable conciliation procedure before the Commercial Court of Nanterre. A first meeting with creditors is to be held on Tuesday.
On the side of the employees, the unions “have the feeling that (the new management) is listening”, indicates to AFP Dominique Chave, secretary general of the Federal Union of Private Health CGT.
To improve the care of residents, Orpea intends to recruit massive staff, he announced in September: 500 people per month until the end of the year then 800 people per month in 2023, despite the labor shortage. of work in the medico-social sector.
According to the CFDT Santé Sociaux, “the main concern relates to the financial health of the group and the impact that this could have on employees and residents”, declares Fabien Hallet, its federal secretary.