Solution found to secure the future of the traditional business

The future looks bright for Werzalit

Following many months of negotiations, a decision has now been reached concerning the future of the insolvent Werzalit Group: Austrian entrepreneur Martin Troyer is taking over Werzalit. The future of the manufacturer of wood-based components as well as around 450 employees in Germany and abroad is now secure.

Troyer will be taking over the Niederorschel site with around 120 employees, the administration and distribution centre in Oberstenfeld with more than 50 employees, as well as the Romanian production site, which has around 220 employees. The production site in Oberstenfeld will be shut down. It was also found possible to save the American site, which was sold to a US-based investor.

Production at the Oberstenfeld site will be terminated by the end of April, but without any interruption of supplies to existing customers. Grounds for the closure include, among other things, the fact that the centrally located production site - with a correspondingly high value - cannot be sold to a production company and the imposition by the local authority of a development freeze. In accordance with the local authority’s wishes, the Werzalit-site will therefore be sold to a project developer and subsequently replanned and redesigned.

The closure will result in the loss of around 120 jobs in Oberstenfeld. “I am particularly sorry that this will affect some of the very employees who have stood by the company over the last few months and thanks to whom it has been possible to continue business operations”, said insolvency administrator Jochen Sedlitz of law firm Menold Bezler.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, it was not possible to find a solution involving the former FHK employees in Oberstenfeld and these jobs will, sadly, be lost”, the insolvency administrator continued. The Works Councils in Berlin and in Niederorschel were able to find favourable solutions for the employees affected by the judgment of the Federal Employment Court concerning the unsuccessful transfer of business operations to the former production company FHK.

The buyer, Martin Troyer, has already, as director and shareholder, successfully built up and run a large and successful company in the solar protection industry in Austria. He is familiar with the construction materials industry and has a number of new ideas and approaches as to how Werzalit might be successfully repositioned.

Despite the closure of the production site in Oberstenfeld, insolvency administrator Jochen Sedlitz is pleased: “As we see it, we have found the best and most feasible solution for the company and the remaining jobs”. The highly complex legal and factual circumstances meant the insolvency administration at Werzalit, which comprises 15 separate businesses, was a huge challenge over the past few months, even by international insolvency proceeding standards. The fight to rescue the business and the jobs entailed negotiations spanning several months involving various interested parties and countless legal issues.

Insolvency administration of Werzalit Group: Menold Bezler (Stuttgart): Jochen Sedlitz (insolvency administration), Dr. Sebastian Mielke, Dr. Frank Schäffler, Dr. Alexandra Kierner, Pascal Mangold (all insolvency administration); Dr. Jasmin Urlaub (insolvency law), Dr. Cristina Baier, Kathrin Seiz (both employment law), Dr. Julia Schneider (IP), Dr. Aris Joannidis (commercial law)

Experts: Jochen Sedlitz, Dr. Frank Schäffler, Dr. Sebastian Mielke, Dr. Alexandra Kierner, Pascal Mangold, LL.M., Dr. Jasmin Urlaub, Dr. Cristina Baier, Kathrin Seiz, Dr. Julia Schneider, Dr. Aris Joannidis

Areas of practice: Employment Law, Insolvency Administration / Administration, Mergers & Acquisitions, Intellectual Property, Competition, Copyright and Media Law, Commercial and distribution law

Sectors and Solutions: Reorganisation and Restructuring