Pantherwerke Blames Baltik Vairas for Insolvency
LÖHNE, Germany – Yesterday, after Bike Europe published that Pantherwerke AG filed for insolvency we received the following official statement from CEO Michael Schminke in which he clearly blames Baltik Vairas for driving his company into a financial abyss.
Schminke says, “As earlier reported Pantherwerke AG agreed, after the sale of UAB Baltik Vairas to a Lithuanian-Danish investor group, the contractual supply of bicycles up to 31 August, 2014. Then our former producer UAB Baltik Vairas informed us that they unduly will stop the supply to Pantherwerke AG effective immediately. The high turnover Pantherwerke AG lost in December 2013 and January 2014 as well as for season 2014 led to the financial end of the company.”
All contractual and commercial agreements fulfilled
According to CEO Michael Schminke, “All contractual and commercial agreements were fulfilled. However, a former associate drove Pantherwerke AG into ruins. On 5 February Pantherwerke AG had to ask for insolvency proceedings at the insolvency court in Bielefeld.”
Interesting to note is that “the former associate” Michael Schminke points to is likely Baltik Vairas CEO Dirk Zwick. He was COO of Pantherwerke AG from September 2011 to February 2013. Last November he confirmed to Bike Europe that Panther International AG has sold its Baltik Vairas factory, based in Lithuania, for an non-disclosed amount to a Danish investor. This Danish investor is related to Niels Peter Preztmann, board member at UAB Baltik Vairas.
Sales in Germany
On November 28, 2013 Zwick told Bike Europe that Baltik Vairas founded a subsidiary in Germany called BV Cycles GmbH. On this new company he said in in the Lithuanian business newspaper Verslo žinios at that time, “As part of Panther Group product development and sales were centralized in Germany, but now we will have to do it ourselves again. Another important task is to convince new customers that we are a reliable manufacturer.”
He continued with, “Bernhard Fischer is our trade agent for the Western Europe. He has been working for more than 20 years at the Panther group so he has acquaintance with many of our customers. The only exception is the German market which will be handled by Pantherwerke AG during a period of transition.”
Clearly that transition period seems to have stopped abruptly. Bike Europe tried to contact Dirk Zwick for comments but failed to reach him.