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ZEG to Take-Over Kettler’s Bicycle Factory? (Update)

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ENSE-PARSIT, Germany – According to a local newspaper – the Saarbrücker Zeitung – Europe’s biggest dealer cooperative ZEG is about to take-over Kettler’s Hanweiler based bicycle factory. The Kettler management is currently working on an insolvency plan which is scheduled to be finalized together with the company’s creditors at end of the year.

ZEG to Take-Over Kettler’s Bicycle Factory? (Update)
Unconfirmed reports say that ZEG is about to take-over Kettler’s Hanweiler bicycle factory. - Photo Heinz Kettler GmbH & Co. KG

According to Kettler (manufacturer of outdoor furniture, fitness equipment, toys and aluminium bicycles) the restructuring of the company has started. This was officially announced after a staff meeting on 28 October. On 2 June, 2015 Kettler filed for insolvency.

Kettler’s bike facility

Since 1 September Kettler has been working on an insolvency plan ‘in self-administration’ which offers the company options for recapitalization in order to avoid bankruptcy. On 13 October the creditor’s decided to continue the Kettler business. At a 28 October staff meeting it was said that 198 employees will lose their jobs. What’s also noted is that a future solution of the Hanweiler based bicycle factory in the German state of Saarland can be “realized on a short-term.” This means that Kettler will continue to produce bicycles and that the job cuts are not taking place at the company’s Hanweiler bicycle factory.

ZEG named as buyer

Kettler has not issued any statements as of yet. However, the ‘ Saarbrücker Zeitung’ presented more details. According to this local newspaper Kettler’s bicycle business will be taken over including a two years guarantee of existence. One of the favourite buyers is German dealer cooperative ZEG, is noted by Saarbrücker Zeitung. “We are definitely assuming that ZEG will buy the factory. For us workers the continuation of the factory and job preservation is the most important thing,” said a Kettler employee quoted by the Saarbrücker Zeitung. At the time of writing Kettler nor ZEG wanted to comment on this.

US private equity investor

According to other sources US private equity investor Carlyle already contacted the Kettler creditors. Carlyle is said to take over the company’s debts amounting to 12 million euro from the Commerzbank. Noted by ‘Ispo News’ Carlyle is known for its strategy to buy debts against company shares. At the time of writing Carlyle’s intention for its Kettler involvement isn’t yet clear at all.

Insolvency plan

According to company owner Dr. Karin Kettler (daughter of company founder Heinz Kettler) and the Kettler management the insolvency plan is scheduled to be finalized together with the creditors at the end of the year. The goal is to continue the in 1949 founded company, “as a regional-rooted family business with operations around the world under leadership of shareholder Dr. Karin Kettler.”

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