MB administrator confident of selling debt-struck firm

Pamela Mardle
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Finishing manufacturer Mathias Bauerle (MB) was two weeks away from running out of money when it filed for bankruptcy on 23 July.

The German firm, which turned over nearly €14m (£11m) in 2011, attributed insolvency to poor sales in the quarter leading up to Drupa.

However, the company, based in Schwarzwald, south-west Germany, claimed that its receipt of orders had stabilised during and since the fair, showing "promising" signs for the company’s survival.

The bankruptcy court in Villingen-Schwenningen has appointed insolvency expert Martin Mucha of law firm Gruß Brugger as provisional liquidator to MB while it continues to trade as normal.

Mucha said he expected to find an investor to take on the business as a going concern before November and was adamant that selling the business off in parts was not an option.

Mucha also claimed to have been in talks with a number of potential buyers, including rivals, financial investors and those looking to synergise the company with their own.

Encore Machinery managing director Mike Biggs, who has acted as MB's sole UK distributor for 28 years, suggested that it would not be "an issue of finding an investor, but of selecting the right one".

Biggs added: "MB wants someone to carry on the name and continue growing the company; it is looking to protect jobs and the business."

Under German insolvency law, the government will pay salaries for MB’s 150 employees for a maximum of three months.

Approximately 800 MB machines are installed around the UK alone, according to Biggs, with a much larger worldwide installation base.

Philip Dodd of Ipswich-based printer Healey’s invested in an MB38 folder and creaser from MB in 2008 and said the company was an "innovator".

He added: "I hope that MB continues, not just for us. The more suppliers allied to innovation, particularly within the digital market, the better."

Biggs reassured PrintWeek that existing customers have no cause for concern regarding servicing and spare parts on their MB machines.

He said: "All of us between England and Germany are optimistic for the future and we are confident that the right investor will be found."

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