The commercial court preferred this offer to that of the employees.
It is the end of one of the largest cooperative groups in France. Placed in receivership since September, the company Scopelec, specialist in the deployment and maintenance of copper and fiber networks and subcontractor of telecom operators, will see the majority of its activities taken over by the company Circet, which has 3,800 employees in France and 15,350 worldwide.
The offer of this rival, held by the British investment fund ICG, was preferred by the Lyon commercial court to that of Newscope. The latter had been set up by the management of Scopelec, with the support of 700 employees, who had undertaken to pay a total of 1 million euros to maintain the cooperative model.
“The disappointment is strong, because our file had been recognized as solid and was better said socially”explains a spokesperson for Newscope.
The latter provided for the safeguarding of nearly 1,500 of the company’s 2,300 jobs. Circet, whose proposal was deemed financially sounder by the court, will keep only 1,049 Scopelec employees. The new owner will not take over the activities of the Réunion-Mayotte and South-East areas, as well as the “uses and services” branch.
Quality of service
Scopelec was a historic subcontractor of Orange. But the loss, during the summer of 2021, of half of its contracts with the operator following a call for tenders destabilized the cooperative, which ended up being placed under the protection of justice in March 2022 These lost contracts represented 200 million euros, or 40% of the income of the cooperative, which is very dependent on the incumbent operator. A job safeguard plan was launched in July. Some of the employees did not wait for the epilogue of the file to go to the competition, in particular to the new recipients of the Orange contracts.
We would have had more chances to explain our project, more truth, without the pressure from Orange, which disturbed the free will of commercial justice
Cyrille Rocher, director of the regional union of Scop in Occitania
The operator justifies having withdrawn certain contracts from Scopelec by the insufficient quality of its technical services. This question is a burning issue among telecom operators, as their customers have to complain about problems related to the installation of fiber. Scopelec claims to have raised the bar in 2022 and criticizes Orange for not having adopted “benevolent neutrality” with regard to their proposal during the hearings. “We would have had more chances to explain our project, more truth, without the pressure from Orange, which disturbed the free will of commercial justice”assures Cyrille Rocher, director of the regional union of Scop in Occitania, the region where Scopelec is based.
Left-wing elected officials such as Carole Delga, Grégory Doucet and François Ruffin had called on the State in December to support the Newscope project in the name, in particular, of safeguarding sovereignty in the telecoms sector. Scopelec employees also arrested the president, Emmanuel Macron, on December 16. Without results. The takeover of Scopelec by Circet should take place in the spring.
SEE ALSO – “Let Orange and the State assume their responsibilities!“: Scopelec employees demonstrate in Paris
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