Heer Media Group to be split

Körner Druck and Walter Digital under new ownership

Heer Media Group of Sindelfingen is to be split. Solutions have already been found for two group companies. Körner Druck Maichingen will be integrated into the Circle Media Group, which is active across Europe, while Walter Digital Korntal-Münchingen will be taken over by Esser Printsolutions. The purchase agreements have already been executed.

Heer Media Group applied for self-administration at the beginning of August 2018. The corporate group comprises Heer Medienholding GmbH, Körner Druck GmbH & Co. KG, WPM Druck GmbH, Walter Digital GmbH, as well as Kraft Premium GmbH. With a consolidated turnover of around Euro 120 million, around 550 employees, six offset printers, three sheet-fed offset printers, together with an extensive digital printing division and comprehensive print processing, Heer Group had been one of the leading manufacturers of catalogues, brochures, indexing media and advertising supplements in Germany.

As a result of the highly challenging market situation and consolidation, which led to the insolvency of countless printers over the last few months, it was not possible to maintain the group as a single unit. “There were simply too many issues within the Group which would have demanded too much capital for an overall solution, particularly given the uncertain return in the current market”, said Jochen Sedlitz, restructuring officer at Körner, WPM, Kraft and Heer Medienholding and a lawyer with the firm Menold Bezler in Stuttgart.

Continuation of the telephone directory sector through WPM Druck in Nuremberg was already hugely challenging at the time the application for insolvency was submitted. The management and restructuring specialists put all their efforts into finding an investor. “However, due to excess capacity, no one was prepared to invest in Nuremberg. This is why we closed WPM using an orderly wind-down procedure”, says Sedlitz.

From the point of view of the management, the solution that has now been found for Körner represents a huge success. The remaining 200-odd employees, in particular, will have a future at the Maichingen site as part of an internationally active group. A number of employees from Heer Medienholding will also be moving to the new company.

It has also been possible to secure the future of more than 95% of the original 50-strong team at Walter Digital. The majority were taken over by the company Walter Esser printSolutions GmbH and the remaining employees were able to find jobs in the direct vicinity. The Korntal-Münchingen site will also remain.

The fight to secure the future of Kraft Premium GmbH in Ettlingen is still underway. The chances of the majority of the jobs being able to be saved here, too, will become clear over the next few weeks.

“All those involved, including our trustee, Martin Mucha, and his team, as well as the various creditors’ committees, have fought extremely hard over the last few months to find a solution. What we have been able to achieve thus far is the result of hard, professional work. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all those involved, in particular the employees,” said Sedlitz.

Dr. Thorsten Schleich, restructuring officer at Walter Digital, agrees: “Anyone who knows the printing industry knows that the work done here was outstanding, even if it wasn’t possible to save every single job. Finding any solution at all given the current market is a huge achievement.”

Tino Heer is especially happy for his employees: “Of course, it’s sad when something you’ve worked to build isn’t successful. However, for now, I’m delighted that we have been able to save the jobs at Körner and Walter. The last few months have been a huge strain and I feel that a weight has now been lifted.”

Advisors to Heer Media Group: Menold Bezler (Stuttgart): Jochen Sedlitz (partner, insolvency administration), Dr. Jasmin Urlaub (partner, insolvency law), Jost Rudersdorf (partner, distressed M&A), Associates: Dr. Sebastian Mielke (insolvency management), Felix Rebel, Frederike Frosch (both distressed M&A), Kathrin Seiz (employment law), Pascal Mangold (insolvency management)

Experts: Jochen Sedlitz, Dr. Jasmin Urlaub, Jost Rudersdorf, Dr. Sebastian Mielke, Felix Rebel, Friederike Frosch, Kathrin Seiz, Pascal Mangold, LL.M., Marc Ehrmann, LL.M.

Areas of practice: Insolvency Law and Restructuring, Insolvency Administration / Administration, Real Estate Law

Sectors and Solutions: Reorganisation and Restructuring