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Sprick’s Troubled Inheritance

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MERKERS/OELDE, Germany (November 13th) – Yesterday, 12 November, the Sprick estate in Oelde got suspension of payment; today the receiver is in Merkers for the issue of the adjudication order. The troubles for Merkers Rad, the hyper modern bike factory (cap.: 800,000 units/year,) that opened in August 2001, only came out when some of the […]

MERKERS/OELDE, Germany (November 13th) – Yesterday, 12 November, the Sprick estate in Oelde got suspension of payment; today the receiver is in Merkers for the issue of the adjudication order. The troubles for Merkers Rad, the hyper modern bike factory (cap.: 800,000 units/year,) that opened in August 2001, only came out when some of the 145 employees complained publicly that they hadn’t received their wages. Last Monday, Merkers Rad was visited by the Landeswirtschaftminister (State minister for economic affairs) who rejected a plea for financial support.
Sprick has four production units: one in Oelde, one in Stromberg, one in Poland and Merkers. The total output was estimated at 600,000 units per year, part of which was assembled by subcontractors in Germany and the Netherlands. Julius Sprick, at 68 still the pushing force behind the Sprick empire, died last August. The opening of his will has put in evidence that a drastic reorganization was inevitable. Insiders expect that Sprick Poland can be kept out of the bankruptcy. Of course, nobody except the Sprick management and the receiver knows which flows there have been between Sprick-Oelde and Merkers. But the recent moves of the receiver suggest at least that Merkers will get a separate bankruptcy procedure. Sprick’s Polish factory will probably be kept out of the bankruptcy.
For Merkers, last Monday’s visit of the minister put the company in broad daylight, and general manager Pause said in a press statement that the banks are unwilling to forward further credit. The major part of Merkers’ debt is said to be among its suppliers. If Merkers will try to get a restart, which is in itself a logical step in view of the employment (Merkers plus local suppliers), its excellent infrastructure and its order portfolio (150,000 units for 2004), but it will require a very solid plan indeed to convince the suppliers to carry on.(OB)

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