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France – Japanese owners of GPI to axe 80 jobs

By - 14 December 2020

The Japanese owners of Angel France, a French subsidiary of Gaming Partners International corporation (GPIC (formerly Bourgogne & Grasset),want to lay off 80 employees out of 105.

They have presented a PSE to elected staff presented a collective redundancy project for economic reasons concerning 80 of the 105 employees at its two sites in Savigny-les-Beaune and from that of Vignoles (Côte d’Or). It was in Beaune that the Bourgogne & Grasset company was born in 1911, when it began supplying casinos with tokens or plaques printed on celluloid sheets. The company then continued to grow, buying in 2000 the Bud Jones companies and in 2002 Paulson, based in Las Vegas, establishing its headquarters there and transforming itself into Gaming Partners International Corporation. Two years ago, on November 27, 2018, GPIC announced that it had entered into a merger agreement with Angel Holdings Godo Kaisha, based in Yokohama, Japan, under which Angel would acquire the American company for $110m. The operation was completed in May 2019. The Japanese director of the company told employees about the collective dismissal plan on December 3. An employment safeguard plan (PSE) has already been sent to elected staff. This plan would provide for a relocation to Japan of the manufacture of European plates and tokens as well as the manufacture of American tokens. Currently employees work in groups, one week out of four. Angel France is believed to be keeping its Burgundy sites open.

Emmanuel Gelinotte, Executive Director of Angel France, said to the French media that the company had ‘taken three blows of the hammer: the economy, the Covid-19 and the cyberattack. Our products and traditional casino games are reorienting themselves on technology. The market is extremely difficult and the health crisis has accelerated the phenomenon. In Macau, where we make between 76 per cent and 96 per cent of our annual turnover, casino activity has collapsed by 82 per cent in the first months of 2020.”

The cyberattack dates back to just over a month. A group of Russian hackers, using REvil-type ransomware, announced in a statement on Saturday, October 31, that they had stolen 540 Gb of highly sensitive data from GPI: financial documents, contracts and technical documentation. The hacker group would give the company 72 hours to pay a ransom, otherwise threatening to publish the information they held. Unfortunately, this type of ransomware is becoming more common. It is not known how this cyberattack ended. On the other hand, Angel France knows how the hackers got into the computer system. “We are paying dearly for the implementation of teleworking in March, which created holes in our secure network,” its executive director told Bien Public.

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