BERLIN and FEHRBELLIN, 2 MAY 2017. The Bundeskartellamt has now approved the takeover of the insolvent cocoa factory Euromar. In the next few days, the internationally active ECOM Group, headquartered in Switzerland, will be able to take over the machines and assets as well as cocoa processing and all 121 employees in Fehrbellin, Brandenburg.
Euromar Commodities GmbH was one of the larger companies in this special raw materials market with a turnover of almost one billion euros, primarily from trading in cocoa products. Products such as cocoa butter, cocoa mass and cocoa powder were sold to customers in the chocolate, confectionery, ice cream and bakery industries worldwide via their trading activities. On 2 December last year, the company got into difficulties on account of circumstances still to be dealt with in detail. It filed for insolvency at the Neuruppin District Court. Since then, the Berlin insolvency administrator Rolf Rattunde has continued running the company. Insolvency proceedings were opened on 6 March.
Following an international bidding procedure, insolvency administrator Rattunde was able to conclude a purchase contract for the operating resources and employees with ECOM on 7 March. ECOM is a trading company and processor of natural raw materials and semi-processed agricultural products in the coffee, cocoa and cotton sectors. The Federal Cartel Office has now approved this agreement, thereby removing the final hurdle for a takeover.
“The internationally active company located near Berlin is little known to the public. But with a turnover of 980 million euros in 2015, of which around 70 per cent came from the cocoa trade and 30 per cent from cocoa processing, Euromar is one of the insolvency cases with the highest turnover this year. Just four months after filing for insolvency, the sale to ECOM enabled us to secure a new start in cocoa processing in Fehrbellin and, above all, safeguard all 121 jobs. This is a great success for the region as well as for the workers and their families. The case shows that insolvent companies and the jobs affected can now be rescued in a short period of time. Insolvency law makes it possible to continue operations with the support of the Arbeitsagentur (employment agency) and to sell quickly,” explained insolvency administrator Prof. Rolf Rattunde of LEONHARDT RATTUNDE in Berlin.
International trade relations played an important role in the insolvency of Euromar. Contracts were concluded under English cocoa law, for example, large parts of which run contrary to German insolvency law. Many issues arising from this conflict remain to be resolved. Euromar also belongs to Transmar Commodities Group Ltd. in the United States with over 1,000 employees and locations in over 154 countries. After the insolvency of Euromar, Transmar also got into difficulties and is currently under creditor protection. According to reports from market participants, the insolvency of Euromar and the associated defaults have not only shaken the supply relationships of confectionery manufacturers worldwide, but also the confidence of banks in the industry and thus the financing possibilities of other players.
Prof. Rolf Rattunde, LEONHARDT RATTUNDE, Insolvency Administrator
Jan Patrick Röcker, LEONHARDT RATTUNDE,
Kurfürstendamm 26 A, 10719 Berlin,
Dr. Jochen Mignat, Dr. Mignat PR, Am Hexenpfad 11, 63450 Hanau, Tel. 06181-50791-22,j.mignat_at_mignat.de