Finance heads quit Orco

Chief financial officer Luc Leroi and Arnaud Bricout, who manages Orco’s corporate finance department, have resigned from the property group. Some 220 people have lost their jobs under restructuring plans so far.

Europe’s Orco Property Group has seen two senior finance figures depart the company as part of a restructuring plan that has so far resulted in 220 posts being made redundant.

Luc Leroi has resigned from his role as director and managing director of the company and as legal representative of CEREM, an Orco subsidiary, the firm said in a statement. Arnaud Bricout also quit as a director. According to the firm's website, Leroi joined in 2002 and was chief financial officer and general secretary, while Bricout joined in 2003 and managed the corporate finance department.

Nicolas Tommasini has been named deputy chief executive and interim chief finance officer as part of the changes, while Jean-François Ott is taking responsibility for real estate development and asset management company-wide.

Further, Keith Lindsay, a former real estate head at Walt Disney who joined the firm last year, becomes chief operating officer as well as continuing to manage the hospitality sector. Ales Vobruba will also assume more responsibility, heading up business in the Czech and Slovak Republics in addition to his role as head of bank financing.

The changes are part of a “global restructuring plan” that focuses on several regional and country office closings, as well as disposals of non core assets and businesses, Orco said. The plan has already resulted in 220 redundancies across the group so far.

The listed company manages around €2.5 billion of assets. It is the sponsor of The Endurance Real Estate Fund, a Luxembourg–regulated closed–ended vehicle with sub-funds focused on real estate acquisitions in the office, retail and residential sectors in Central Europe. It has been in the market of late trying to raise a health care product, a logistics and light industrial vehicle and a fund targeting offices.

Earlier this month, the company reported revenues of €299.3 million for 2008, up from €270.8 million the year before. It also said it expected 2009 turnover to reach at least €277 million or even €391 million, provided the company can sell property assets.

Last September, the company suspended trading after its share price fell 80 percent. Orco blamed short sellers in part for the decline. However, at the time, Orco said it did not need to resort to the financial markets for liquidity. The firm added there had been no breach of covenant on any of its mortgage financing, nor was any foreseen. The firm has already downgraded its growth forecast for the Endurance fund.