Two days after declaring bankruptcy, Reolian General Manager Cédric Rigaud admitted Thursday that there was a difference between the working cultures in Macau and Europe but insisted that those differences did not affect the way the French company was running its public bus service in Macau, adding the decision to file for bankruptcy was merely meant to protect the company.
Speaking to The Macau Post Daily, Rigaud said that with the severe shortage of bus drivers in Macau, his company needed to spend more money to hire them – according to Tuesday night’s bankruptcy statement, the company increased drivers’ monthly salaries by 8,000 patacas which cost Reolian 3.2 million patacas per month.
He added that the company had repeatedly asked the government for help over the last few months without much success, because of which it finally decided to file for bankruptcy as a way to save it from further financial woes.
The bankruptcy statement coincided with National Day.
The statement also said that Reolian needed to “offer remuneration packages 50 percent higher than initially predicted in order to employ sufficient bus captains”, while it had also accumulated a loss of more than 120 million patacas with a monthly deficit of six million patacas since it started operating in August 2011.
Reolian said in the statement that the salary increase, coupled with a 10-month delay in commencing operations and the government’s refusal to pay its promised 23.3 percent bus service payment increase, led to the company’s bankruptcy.
“The question is not what is on the table right now, but is to find another solution,” said Rigaud. “We respect our employees, we take care of their jobs and we’ll protect the company.”
He did not reveal whether Transdev, Reolian’s French parent company, provided any financial assistance to the company to help it through the tough times.
While Rigaud acknowledged that Reolian may have failed to live up to the public’s expectations as it was involved in several high-profile traffic accidents in its first year of operations, he said he had no regrets.
Meanwhile, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement last night that Thursday’s routes operated by Reolian were running “normally”.(macaunews)