Independent German paper mill Feldmuehle Uetersen has filed for insolvency.
The business filed for insolvency at the Pinneberg district court yesterday (January 24) and Hamburg-based Tjark Thies of Reimer Rechtsanwälte has been appointed as the preliminary insolvency administrator.
Thies and a team of other restructuring experts from Reimer Rechtsanwälte are currently working together with Munich-based restructuring consultancy Ruppert Fux Landmann and Feldmuehle’s management to review the situation.
Feldmuehle Uetersen employs around 420 staff and produces around 250,000 tonnes of paper a year at its mill, just west of Hamburg.
The firm said employees will continue to be paid through to the end of March 2018, with their salaries covered by the Federal Employment Agency’s insolvency allowance.
“Business operations will continue unimpeded. This goes for production as well as purchasing, sales, marketing and logistics,” said Thies.
“Feldmuehle has first-class products, production facilities, and processes as well as a highly motivated workforce and holds a leading market position. So we are justified in seeing the current proceedings as an opportunity for the company.”
A spokesperson from Ruppert Fux Landmann added: “We will use the days and weeks ahead to review the extent to which the company could manage the economic rehabilitation just by itself. One conceivable alternative to this would be its acquisition by an investor.”
The spokesperson said the business will also continue the strategic reorganisation of its product portfolio and sales organisation – which it first outlined in September last year –with the funds available to it under insolvency law.
At the time, the company said the restructure would see it streamline its six existing product segments into three business areas of Labelling Applications, Packaging Solutions and Graphical Options, with the aim to strengthen Feldmuehle’s market position in these three areas.
Alongside this, the firm said its entire sales structure would be “more stringently oriented” to the customer, with sales support and field sales employees specialising in one of the three business areas.
Feldmuehle Uetersen managing director Heiner Kayser said: “Our customers can count on continuing to receive on-time deliveries.”
He added suppliers could also “rest assured” they will receive their money when new orders are placed.
Feldmuehle Uetersen has a history stretching back to 1904. It became an independent mill again in 2015, after Stora Enso completed the sale of the business to German private equity fund Perusa Partners.
The business specialises in the production of high-quality graphic, label and packaging papers for the German and international markets. It runs two paper machines and has an annual capacity of around 250,000 tonnes.
Bedford-based paper agent Paper2print has supplied a range of Feldmuehle products to the UK market since it formed in 2015. The company said it was “too early to comment” on the situation.