Pantherwerke’s Insolvency; Receiver Intervenes
BIELEFELD, Germany – On April 1 Stefan Stollberg – the receiver for Pantherwerke AG that asked for insolvency on February 3 – opened the insolvency procedure. First thing he did was sending Pantherwerke’s workers home, but they were not laid off. Next to that he was surprised to see that work was done to restart production in a Pantherwerke building which is included in the insolvency proceedings.
Also on April 1 Bike Building GmbH, the new bike producer that is not affected by the Pantherwerke insolvency which was founded last November, changed its ownership structure. Shareholder and GM Oliver Runde sold his stake.
The 50% shareholding Runde had according to the commercial register at the ‘Amtsgericht Bad Oeynhausen’ is now owned by Andreas Schminke (nephew of Pantherwerke CEO Michael Schminke). Bike Building GmbH is now wholly owned by Andreas Schminke while he is too GM of the company. Oliver Runde sold his shares and left Bike Building GmbH: “Due to family reasons,” said Michael Schminke.
Sharing Lithuanian employees
Bike Building GM Andreas Schminke is also GM of Pantherwerke Transport GmbH – a company owned by Josepha Wippermann (daughter of Michael Schminke). According to receiver Stefan Stollberg this company is actually sharing its Lithuanian employees with Bike Building. “Frankly said I was surprised to see Bike Building working on a production start in a building that is part of the insolvency procedure,” Stollberg said to Bike Europe. This indicates that Bike Building is operating without consulting the receiver.
Sending workers home
The newly formed company is said to produce for Bike Plantage GmbH. This is a factory outlet located at the Pantherwerke premises in Löhne which is owned by Petra Schminke (Michael Schminke’s wife). The company sells directly to consumers.
When Stollberg visited Pantherwerke for starting the insolvency proceedings on 1 April, first thing he did was sending Pantherwerke AG’s workers home. Stollberg underlines that at the present time these people are not laid off: “We are still negotiating with the workers’ council.”
‘It’s all about real estate’
Receiver Stollberg said that he wants to finalize the Pantherwerke insolvency by the end of April. His first step is to sell the real estate: “Finally it’s all about real estate including warehouse and machine park. Due to the fact that there is no production taking place now each day costs money. This isn’t in the interest of the creditors.”
Michael Schminke doesn’t want to comment. He only said: “There are still several meetings planned with the receiver.” All he noted to Bike Europe is that the receiver will pay all creditors out of the insolvency assets. When asked about Bike Building GmbH he said: “I am not able to say anything because this company belongs to my nephew Andreas Schminke and is not affected by the insolvency.” He made clear that he will inform the market about the future after the negotiations with the receiver are finalized.