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Heitkamp BauHolding Case Study

 

All subsidiary companies with 1,100 employees rescued

The Heitkamp Group entered a liquidity crisis due to unclear European tax law issues, with the holding company having to apply for insolvency. The subsidiary companies subsequently also faced insolvency. In just three months Dr. Dirk Andres, as insolvency administrator, was able to sell the important subsidiaries. As a result, nearly all jobs were saved and significant assets were realised for creditors. Altogether, more than 60 construction law disputes of considerable scale are continuing, some of them internationally.

 

Key Facts

€275 million turnover

1,100 employees



Restructuring over 5 months

98% of jobs save

 

Starting situation

The group, with 8 operating subsidiaries and around 1,150 employees, concluded a company voluntary agreement with its creditors in 2007. Since then, all of the profits from the group's companies have been used to service the agreement. Thanks to the turnaround in energy policy in spring 2011 as well as the unresolved issues related to §8c KStG under European law, the holding company faced a looming liquidity crisis. In light of these circumstances, the management petitioned for the holding company's insolvency at the District Court of Bochum on 22 November 2011. Dr Dirk Andres was appointed provisional administrator. He was subsequently appointed as provisional administrator for the five other companies that were not operative.

 

The insolvency proceedings

A restructuring of the group through an insolvency plan was not possible after being dismissed by the parties. It was also improbable that a potential investor could be found to take over the entire group, which was also a result of the unresolved issues relating to European tax law. It therefore became a matter of disposing of the eight important subsidiary companies to return the highest possible proceeds for the creditors. This meant that the subsidiary companies were not allowed to also become insolvent. Due to the fact that the banks and credit insurers involved cancelled the loan guarantee and credit insurance for all operating subsidiaries immediately after becoming insolvent, this was a looming threat. Dr Dirk Andres had the task of finding financing for the subsidiaries for the next few months without direct, legal access to them. In the end this was achieved through multiple discussions with customers and suppliers as well as active liquidity management. Additionally, the search for investors for the subsidiary companies occurred at very short notice due to the tight time frame. Working together with the holding company's management, it was possible to find new owners for all of the subsidiaries in less than five months. All of the approximately 1,100 jobs could be saved. Only in the holding company were there job losses, approximately 35. The foreign subsidiaries in Lithuania, Czech Republic and Russia were liquidated by the administrator.

 

Result

All subsidiaries could be sold in less than five months and all of the approximately 1,100 jobs were saved.

 

Selected media reports

Heitkamp construction group to be broken up (Rheinische Post, 10 March 2012)

Heitkamp construction group to be dismantled (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 February 2012)

Stricker takes over Heitkamp infrastructure subsidiary (BauMagazin, 20 January 2012)

Construction giant Heitkamp from Herne reports insolvency (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 November 2011)