Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer has never been faced with a worse situation, and as a result of the coronavirus crisis is having to resort to reducing the number of staff it employs. Jean-Luc Biamonti, the long-serving CEO, said the problems are keeping him awake at night.

“I guarantee you we have done everything we can. And we will continue to make sure the restructuring plan goes as smoothly as possible. I don’t sleep at night. It’s hard… we are borrowing 110 million to make it through to the end of the year. We cannot continue like this. We are facing a reality that requires some action,” he said.

Ironically, Monaco’s Casino operator and major hotel company had done very well in the last financial year, until Covid-19 hit, reversing several years of loss-making. It is this period that has now caught up with the company, Monaco’s largest employer.

SBM has been in talks with all parties, and discussions continue this week with trade unions.

Mr Biamonti dismissed rumours that 500 people will lose their jobs as “insane.”

Instead, voluntary redundancies will be prioritised, and when someone leaves a post, there will not be the traditional musical chairs as everyone moves up a grade.

“If we sit around a table, we can reasonably decide not to replace, for a period of time, the executives who are retiring. Honestly, that doesn’t seem like a huge sacrifice to me. The employees will keep their jobs and their salaries. They will just progress a little less quickly. Everyone has to put their own money into it,” he said.

However, a number of redundancies will be inevitable, as SBM adjusts to this strange new world. For the moment, no-one knows how many.

PHOTO: Monte-Carlo Casino and Casino Square, before remodelling this summer