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Schmitz Fire & Rescue is now Schmitz Feuerwehrtechnik GmbH: Strategic investor takes over Farnstadt-based manufacturer of fire engines. All jobs retained.

Farnstädt 21 December 2021. After around six months of self-administration insolvency proceedings and after implementing the restructuring objectives, Schmitz Fire & Rescue is now a member of the family office of the Manns family from Munich as part of an asset deal.

Good news not only for the employees, but also for the customers and suppliers of Schmitz Fire & Rescue, a Farnstadt-based manufacturer of fire engines. As of 1 January 2022, the family office of the Manns family is taking over the company as part of an asset deal. Schmitz Fire & Rescue GmbH will now be Schmitz Feuerwehrtechnik GmbH. All jobs at the site have been retained.

“The self-administration process was a busy and tense time. Despite difficulties caused by the pandemic, the planned restructuring measures, which formed the basis for the involvement of a strategic investor, were successfully implemented in close cooperation between the company, the reorganisation experts and the administrators. This dedication, also shown by the company's employees, was rewarded by an investor solution that has now come to fruition,” explains Managing Director Gerd Pohler, an industry expert. Mr Pohler has more than 30 years of management experience at market-leading fire engine manufacturers, where he has been involved in trend-setting developments in the industry.

The family office of the Manns family invests in medium-sized companies from a wide range of sectors. It prefers to acquire a majority stake using an entrepreneurial approach. “As an active investor, we support the management in shaping and implementing its strategy. By acquiring Schmitz Fire & Rescue, we are entering the market for the development and construction of firefighting vehciles,” says Thomas Manns. An expansion of the workforce and a substantial increase in production capacities are planned in the coming business years.

The now positive outcome of the investor process was preceded by difficult times. As a long-established manufacturer of firefighting and specialty vehicles, the company had to initiate controlled restructuring as part of a self-administration process due to strategic miscalculations and delivery issues caused by the pandemic.

Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the appointed CRO and industry expert Gerd Pohler and the restructuring experts from dmp solutions GmbH in Ulm, Tobias Sorg and Lars Steinhagen, succeeded in clearing the backlog and quickly implemented urgently needed restructuring in the areas of costing, project management and work organisation. In addition to the realignment of sales, production has been optimised in recent months. The reorganisation process was closely and trustingly managed by the administrator appointed by the District Court of Halle (Saale), Thomas Reichelt, a lawyer specialising in insolvency law from the law firm DiLigens Rechtsanwälte & Insolvenzverwalter. This allowed for the significant streamlining of work processes and the bundling of know-how. Efforts were concentrated on the main production site in Farnstädt.

“The systematic performance-based restructuring combined with the management's clear strategic focus on the core business and the potential that emerged from this contributed greatly to the success of the investor process,” explains Timo Petermann, who, as lead partner of Beigel Petermann und Partner, managed the investor process.

CMS Hasche Sigle, one of the leading law firms in the field of commercial law, and Robert Menzel, a certified public accountant at HSBM Göttingen, acted as interdisciplinary advisors to the buyer on the legal and commercial issues of the transaction.

Relaunch in January

The creditors' meeting had decided on 10 December to sell Schmitz Fire & Rescue GmbH to the investor from Munich. In order to support and prepare for the sale, the self-administration insolvency proceedings were lifted by order of the District Court of Halle (Saale) on 14 December 2021 and Thomas Reichelt, a lawyer specialising in insolvency law from the law firm DiLigens Attorneys & Insolvency Administrators, was appointed insolvency administrator.

“We are pleased about the company's new prospects; to lead the business out of self-administration and into a sale within six months is an outstanding achievement by everyone involved,” emphasises insolvency administrator Thomas Reichelt.

Manns Family Office

The family office of Dana and Thomas Manns, consisting of Astra Holding GmbH and Now Investments Holding GmbH, has equity holdings in Germany and Europe. The investments are concentrated in the areas of mechanical engineering, vehicle construction, logistics and agriculture. The group currently employs 4,000 people.

DiLigens Attorneys & Insolvency Administrators

DiLigens Attorneys & Insolvency Administrators is a law firm specialising in insolvency administration, restructuring advice and litigation. The founding partners Marcello Di Stefano, Dr Martin Linsenbarth and Thomas Reichelt have worked for many years as insolvency administrators and trustees for insolvency courts in Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Hesse. DiLigens also advises managers, shareholders, creditors and others affected by corporate crises in all out-of-court legal matters and - if necessary - also in court. The law firm was founded in early 2021 and has nine offices, mainly in Central Germany.

dmp solutions

dmp solutions is a law firm specialising in corporate restructuring as well as insolvency and inheritance proceedings. The firm has six offices throughout Germany. Founded in 2019, the firm was created by merging the administration departments of the nationally-active law firm Derra, Meyer & Partner, and SORG Insolvenzverwaltung, which focuses on southern Germany. For many years, the founders of the firm have been appointed as insolvency administrators by the courts as part of corporate insolvency proceedings. They offer their management and consulting expertise to companies and entrepreneurs that are in the process of restructuring and reorganising. Tobias Sorg and his team have already been awarded the Best of Consulting Award for SMEs by WirtschaftsWoche in the area of restructuring.

Beigel Petermann & Partner

Beigel, Petermann & Partner are a group of business consultants who specialise in insolvency, restructuring and management consultancy. Their core competencies lie in the areas of reorganisation and restructuring, management consultancy, as well as transaction/M&A both for insolvency proceedings and out-of-court reorganisation with a focus on distressed M&A transactions. The main activities of the partnership firm, which was founded in 2005 and is based in Biberach a. d. Riss, includes interim management support, particularly in the area of insolvency aspects faced by day-to-day company management and by the purchasing, sales and finance departments, the implementation of wind-down and liquidation processes, as well as appointing management status.

CMS Hasche Sigle

CMS is one of the leading law firms in Germany in the field of commercial law. A team of more than 600 lawyers, tax advisors and notaries advise medium-sized companies as well as large corporations on all matters of national and international business law. CMS Germany has offices in eight major German business locations as well as in Brussels, Hong Kong, Moscow, Beijing and Shanghai. For further information, please visit cms.law.

HSBM Göttingen GmbH Steuerberatungsgesellschaft

HSBM Göttingen was founded ten years ago and provides consulting and auditing services, primarily in the areas of tax consulting and external auditing. The active partners had already been working together professionally for many years prior to this. They mainly support medium-sized companies from various sectors in southern Lower Saxony and Thuringia, providing them with individual, long-term and implementation-oriented support.

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