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The world is trying to break up with Rene Benko

The world is trying to break up with Rene Benko

The Swiss Signa Retail Selection has been suspended. It is an attempt to steer the Globus department store group out of Benko’s bankruptcy spiral – a risky undertaking.

November 29, 2023, 9:26 pm30 November 2023, at 05:38

Christian Mensch/Media

Can Globus get to the other side, or is the group doomed with Signa Retail Selection?Photo: Keystone

Signa Retail Selection is being liquidated. In this company, the Signa Group has combined its holdings in the retail sector – including the operational business of Globus department stores.

The Board of Directors decided to submit a request to the Civil Court in Zurich to issue a decision to suspend implementation, according to a statement distributed on Wednesday evening. This means that the company will be separated from its Austrian parent company. The company had filed for bankruptcy with the insolvency administrator in Vienna only half a day ago. With this move, the business threatened to fall directly into the vortex of Austrian insolvency proceedings.

Switzerland has become a hub for the department store group Signa

While the company’s restructuring will continue in the Austrian proceedings after a massive delisting, the Swiss company will be dissolved in a controlled manner. In the real estate proceeding, the properties will be sold individually, with only one buyer initially for the Globus stores: Central Group, which already owns half of the Globus holding company.

However, the situation remains confusing. In addition to Globus (CH), KaDeWe (D) and Selfridge (GB) also belong to the luxury Signas chain. However, they are grouped into different subsidiaries than, for example, the Galeria (D) chain, which also belongs to the Signa Retail Selection. It remains to be seen whether the moratorium will also apply to subsidiaries.

Attorney Christian Wenger, whose law firm has been drafting complex contracts in recent years, clearly took the lead. As Chairman of the Board of Directors, he is now tasked with organizing Benko’s breakup. In order to reassure the Swiss public, it was emphasized above all that Globus’s operational business is not affected by the measures.

Unresolved file number: property

However, the fate of the Globes’ holdings remains unclear as a result of the freeze. Half of these also belong to the central group, but in the Benko empire they are grouped across different levels in the real estate holding company Signa Prime Selection. Their fate is unclear, and it is difficult for Switzerland to influence it.

Operational businesses and real estate are inextricably linked. On the one hand, real estate companies finance the development of department stores, while real estate companies finance it through rent as their only income. It is already clear today that rents are sometimes not enough to cover liabilities. (

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