Retail and Distribution
A proven track record is the best way to demonstrate our strength and depth of expertise. Below are examples of our team’s recent appointments.
A last-minute solution was able to be found during the self-administration proceedings of the well-known G-fashion Group. Despite the difficult conditions caused by the corona pandemic, an investor was found. While the investor process was ongoing, the textile retailer had to temporarily close its branches due to the lockdown. The contracts for the transferred restructuring, which had already gone through final negotiations, could therefore no longer be concluded as planned. While the management was already preparing to shut down operations and the branches were carrying out clearance sales after being partially opened, an agreement was finally reached with an investment company. Numerous employees have therefore kept their jobs. The PLUTA experts acted as custodians for three companies in the group and supported the proceedings in the interests of the creditors.
Bürgerbräu Wolnzach AG
Bürgerbräu Wolnzach AG from Bavaria in Germany had to file for insolvency due to liquidity
problems. A PLUTA restructuring expert acted as insolvency administrator. He kept the
brewery’s business operations going and held negotiations with several interested buyers.
Although the small brewery ceased brewing beer, the insolvency administrator was able to
continue selling beer as the company’s warehouses were well stocked. Finally, it was
possible to sell the brewery. The buyer originates from the Upper Bavaria region but has
been living in the US for several years, where he successfully operates two breweries.
Having found a buyer with roots in the region, the PLUTA team achieved the best solution for
the brewery and the creditors. This also means that this region, home to the German Hop
Museum, will still have a brewery in future.
The family company’s success story began in the eighties, when KARMEZ Dönerfabrik
brought the first industrially manufactured doner kebab skewer to the market. But the
company had to file for insolvency. The PLUTA experts were able to keep the longestablished
company going and find an investor. This means that the high-quality doner
kebab skewers will still be produced in Frankfurt in the future. By selling the business,
PLUTA has achieved the best possible result for the company, the staff and the creditors.
More than 60 employees were taken over by the buyer.
Münsterländische Margarine-Werke J. Lülf GmbH
The management of Münsterländische Margarine-Werke J. Lülf GmbH, a supplier of
margarine and fat products as well as milk drinks, conducted debtor-in-possession
insolvency proceedings. Under such an arrangement, management remains in charge and
guides the company through the crisis itself. A PLUTA expert acted as insolvency monitor,
supervising the restructuring process in the interests of the creditors. The insolvency was
mainly the result of the adverse market situation and the decline in demand in the lowermargin
margarine segment. Business activities were maintained without restriction during the
proceedings, and an investor was sought. The successful bidder presented an acquisition
concept that would retain the most jobs. A total of 49 jobs were saved as a result.
Matratzen Direct AG
Matratzen direct AG, a mattress retailer with 558 employees and 256 discount stores,
applied for debtor-in-possession insolvency proceedings in early 2017. Under such an
arrangement, management remains in charge and guides the company through the crisis
itself. A PLUTA expert was appointed insolvency monitor to supervise the restructuring
process and protect the interests of the creditors. The company had fallen into financial
difficulties due to a dramatic decline in sales after it was required under competition law to
change its former name “Factory Outlet”, which had been very useful in its advertising. The
business was kept operating in full during the insolvency proceedings and an insolvency plan
in which creditors agreed to waive part of their claims was drawn up. In total, 176 stores and
410 jobs were saved. Insolvency proceedings were terminated in late 2017.
Zalis was asked to advise SaarLB, a German bank, on a potential transaction to convert into equity the debt issued to a private equity fund and secured by a pledge on a shopping centre in the Paris region, giving it a controlling stake in the shopping centre.
With a an occupancy rate that had dropped to 76% with 12 out of 50 units vacant and several more under notice, a reduced footfall and a damaged reputation the value of the shopping centre had plummeted. After several failed attempts to sell the asset the owner had entered into a voluntary court bankruptcy procedure in order to negotiate an exit from the property under which the lender would take possession of the asset. The bank’s debt had by now an extremely high risk profile and the loan was transferred to the bank’s Special Situations group who asked Zalis to conduct a commercial study on the current situation of the shopping centre and to draw up a potential turnaround plan.
The Zalis study concluded that the shopping centre had sufficient advantages and potential (reasonable catchment area, good motorway access, the right flagship tenant, etc.) to succeed.
Zalis proposed a viable turnaround plan to revitalise the shopping centre, improve its performance and increase its value, but this plan would have taken two years to bear full fruit and it depended on a significant level of change (rent reductions, more appropriate tenants, etc.).
As a result the bank then decided to seek a buyer for its debt rather than exercise its option to take ownership of the property.
Farber accomplished the liquidation of Movie Gallery’s video and game rental business that operated approximately 181 retail stores across Canada, with more than 1,200 employees.
Farber acted as Trustee in a Proposal that was filed under the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act (“BIA Proposal”) which was run in conjunction with Chapter 11 proceedings in the US. Bondholders in the US were contemplating “walking away” from Canada as they perceived immaterial value. However, the Canadian liquidation was executed exceedingly well and resulted in the Canadian creditors receiving 100 cents on the dollar.
As a result, he US parent company received full repayment of its secured loans and a repatriation of equity.
Minute Muffler/Speedy Muffler
Minute Muffler operated as franchisor and buying group to a chain of 91 Minute Muffler franchisees across Canada, specializing in “while you wait” automotive services for cars and light trucks.
Farber was the Court Authorized Sale Agent, working in tandem with the Receiver to maximize value for the secured lenders. There were serious concerns about the Receiver’s ability to keep the franchise network intact.
Farber successfully managed an accelerated sales process to maximize the value of the franchise network before it became severely compromised.
Clothing for Modern Times ("CMT")
CMT designed, produced and marketed trendy apparel styles for “fashion forward” men and women under the retail banners: Urban Behavior, Costa Blanca and Costa Blanca X.
They operated 116 leased store locations throughout Canada and had approximately 1,682 employees.
First under a BIA Proposal and then under CCAA, with Farber acting as Proposal Trustee and Monitor, CMT downsized the chain around its profitable stores and brands; self-liquidated inventory at certain locations; and ultimately, Farber sold the assets as a going concern in two separate transactions.
Tall Girl Shop
Tall Girl Shop operated a specialty retail clothing chain serving the needs of tall women with 14 stores in Canada and 17 stores in the US.
Tall Girl had identified a strategic purchaser from the UK that was interested in acquiring its assets as a means of expanding into North America.
Farber acted as Proposal Trustee and ran a Court-authorized sales process, which resulted in a favourable deal being struck with the UK-based purchaser for the Canadian operations, IP, and online assets. Key retail locations were maintained and others disclaimed. Jobs were preserved for approximately 100 Canadian employees.
Farber maximized the value of US assets by way of a Court-authorized liquidation of the US inventory and fixtures, which necessitated recognition of the Canadian proceedings under Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code.