Circle Media has described the new Dutch dismissal law as “unworkable” and a contributing factor in its decision to file for bankruptcy at its stricken Dutch printing businesses.
At the end of last week holding company Roto Smeets filed for suspension of payments at a number of subsidiary companies including gravure printer Roto Smeets in Deventer and web offset printers Roto Smeets Weert and Senefelder Misset.
Parent company Circle Media Group has now announced that is has filed for bankruptcy at the Dutch printing companies, which employ around 1,000 staff.
Roto Smeets Group chief executive Joost de Haas said paper price increases combined with a “strong deterioration in the market” had left the operations requiring radical restructuring, but Dutch employment law had stymied those efforts.
“The new Dutch Dismissal Law provide to be unworkable for larger restructurings in a shrinking industry,” he stated. “Severance payments are three times as high as under our former redundancy plans and force pre-payment instead of spread payments.
“The new Law works counterproductive and now forces us to lay-off our employees without a social plan. These bankruptcies could have been prevented with a more flexible law.”
De Haas said the group was working with the administrator to try to restart the bankrupt companies, “while trying to secure as much jobs as possible and to continue the production for and service to our customers”.
Roto Smeets picked up some additional UK work following the collapse of Polestar in 2016, and had printed the Saturday Weekend supplement for The Guardian since then until the title's move to Walstead Bicester at the beginning of February.
PrintWeek understands the Dutch printing plants were still producing work for a number of UK catalogue companies.
One industry source commented: “It really makes you think when something like this happens to what had been a solid name like Roto Smeets. Things have changed.”
Circle Media Group reiterated that the measures do not include the Dutch content marketing business MPG.
The group also has printing sites in Belgium, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Spain.
Last month union representatives raised concerns about the group’s position following the sudden closure of Helio Charleroi near Brussels, and the late payment of wages in Spain.
Circle Media Group was formed two years ago after CirclePrinters acquired Roto Smeets as part of an ambitious expansion strategy instigated by former Polestar chief operating officer Peter Andreou. He took over as chairman and CEO at CirclePrinters as part of a new ownership structure in the summer of 2016.