Subsidiary Zanders GmbH continues restructuring in self-management

Renovation plan to ensure paper manufacturer’s efficiency and existence / Company pensions and high raw material costs burden the growing company

At the request of Zanders GmbH, the Cologne District Court today decided to reorganize the company under its own administration. A court-monitored remediation plan is to relieve the traditional paper manufacturer in Bergisch Gladbach of burdens in order to secure the operation and make it more efficient. Despite strong sales growth, Zanders GmbH, which employs around 500 people, suffers from high costs for company pensions and extremely high raw material prices.

“The prospects for self-managed rehabilitation of Zanders are good. This is because the manufacturer of high-quality specialty papers has grown by an average of 12 percent under the new owner Mutares over the last three years and was able to achieve important restructuring successes with the support of its employees. The court-monitored self-administration offers additional possibilities to free the company from burdens and to solve essential problems”, explained Christian Köhler-Ma of the commercial law firm GT Restructuring, who was appointed together with his colleague Gordon Geiser as managing director of Zanders GmbH. Gordon Geiser: “This is not about personnel costs. On the contrary, we need experienced employees to make the restructuring a success. Our goal is to make our operations more efficient and solid. This is the only way Zanders will be permanently viable in a difficult market environment.”

Zanders has applied for self-management because the burdens from pension obligations have been permanently high and the costs for raw materials and energy have risen by around 40 percent in the last twelve months. For example, the price of pulp has climbed to an all-time high. Although the company then increased the prices for its products, it was unable to fully offset the increased costs. The Zanders paper mill, which concentrates on the production of high-quality specialty papers and cartons for labels, packaging and graphic applications, has grown by an average of 12 percent each in recent years with numerous innovative products in this special market. Nevertheless, this growth was not sufficient to offset the increased costs of raw materials and company pensions.

Founded in 1829, the paper manufacturer was acquired by the Munich-based investment company mutares AG in 2015. Today, the approximately 500 employees have to earn the company pensions of around 2,200 recipients. A further 1,500 recipients are expected. One employee must therefore work for the company pension of about seven recipients. As a result of the self-administration, company pensions will be taken over by the Pensionssicherungsverein from July and thus relieve the balance sheet.

The Cologne District Court appointed Dr. Marc d’Avoine, ATN Rechtsanwälte, Wuppertal, as provisional administrator, who is to protect the interests of the creditors, monitor the self-administration and prepare an expert opinion for the court. With the self-administration, which resembles the American Chapter 11 for the reorganization of companies, a provisional committee of creditors is established.

“We will now talk to all parties involved, such as customers, employees and banks, and look for ways to achieve sustainable restructuring. We will present the restructuring plan in about three months. The essential problems that burden Zanders can be solved in this process. I would particularly like to thank the employees who have made a significant contribution to the company’s survival by reducing collectively agreed wages and working hours. We also want to reduce this burden on our employees with this restructuring”, explained Igor Ferlan of mutares AG, who was also appointed as the new managing director of Zanders GmbH.

For further information please contact:

Tobias Müller, Company Spokesman Zanders, Tel. +49 174 3494928, tobias.mueller@zanders.com

*Updated June 27, 2018*
In its decision of 22 June 2018, the Cologne Local Court has not yet approved the insolvency proceedings under its own administration and has b.a.w. appointed a provisional (weak) insolvency administrator. Mutares and Zanders are continuing their efforts to reorganize their own administration by opening insolvency proceedings in September. The management is currently preparing an insolvency plan for the sustainable restructuring of the company and will present it to the court by the end of August. Business operations are not affected by this and will continue with the full support of customers, suppliers and employees. Mutares continues to support the process in close consultation with all stakeholders to secure the site.

Company profile of Mutares AG

Mutares AG, Munich (www.mutares.de), acquires medium-sized companies and parts of groups that are sold during a repositioning and have a clear potential for operational improvement. Mutares actively supports develops its portfolio companies with its own investment and expert teams as well as through acquisitions of strategic add ons. The aim is to achieve a significant increase in value focusing on sustainable growth of the portfolio company. Mutares AG shares are traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol “MUX” (ISIN: DE000A2NB650).