Kettler Files for Insolvency
ENSE, Germany – It is one of the icon brands of the German bicycle industry and was founded in 1949. Last Tuesday CEO Karin Kettler, daughter of company founder Heinz Kettler, filed insolvency at the court in Arnsberg.
The insolvency proceedings allows Heinz Kettler GmbH & Co. KG to realign its financial position and, “To avoid a hostile takeover by a private equity firm,” says Kettler in a statement. “The daily operation is business as usual.” In Germany Kettler employs some 1,100 people.
The local newspaper Soester Anzeiger already reported last 25 April on the financial difficulties at Kettler. The report says that, “The banks were no longer willing to provide the necessary resources and investors are interested in the company.”
Not the first time
It is not the first time Kettler is struggling with its financial position. In 2009 a restructuring of the company was needed and rumours even stated that an insolvency was imminent.
A consultancy study concluded back in 2009, “In particular the garden furniture and toys divisions have some products that you should not produce in Germany any longer. Commercially it would be wiser to shift parts of this production to the Far East.”
Kettler responded stating that the, “Sports and bike products will continue to be made for 100 percent in Germany. We even invest in our Hanweiler based bicycle production facility. New machinery is about to be installed there including a new painting line.”
In the bicycle industry Kettler is known as the first to introduce aluminium bikes in 1977. In Germany Kettler is an icon brand as a manufacturer of toys, bikes, sporting goods and garden furniture. Christoph Schulte-Kaubruegger of law firm White & Case has been named provisional trustee for Kettler, as a last Tuesday court filing shows.