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The Extra-Tav coupons that Clubmarket sold are turning into a major headache for the collapsing chain's trustees. The sheer scope of the problem is now coming to light: It appears that the public holds about NIS 50 million worth of the coupons.

Despite the pledge Clubmarket made to the court Tuesday, when the chain asked for a stay of proceedings, its trustees yesterday ordered branches not to honor the coupons for the time being. The order caused a ruckus at the branches, when irate customers demanded that the managers honor the promise inherent in the coupons.

If the chain does not honor the coupons, then its debt is effectively NIS 50 million larger than previously stated.

But if Extra-Tav is proving to be a headache for the company and its customers, one of Clubmarket's creditors has reason to be grateful for the coupons: Just before the Pesach holiday, the Neto group pulled off a clever move that significantly reduced its exposure to the chain, resulting in Clubmarket's owing it a mere NIS 7 million. Most Clubmarket suppliers, in contrast, are owed sums from tens to hundreds of millions of shekels.

Neto accomplished the debt reduction by buying NIS 10 million worth of Extra Tav coupons from Clubmarket. However, it did not pay cash. Instead, it cut the amount from Clubmarket's debt. It then sold the coupons - which may now be worthless - to the Egged bus cooperative, for cash.

Not trusting in that alone, Neto also has been substantially cutting back its supplies to Clubmarket. Neto said in response that it refuses to comment on its relations with customers.