Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof: The secret insolvency plan of the Benko subsidiary

Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof: The secret insolvency plan of the Benko subsidiary

At Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof, the creditors once again have to forego hundreds of millions of euros. The previously unknown insolvency plan is available exclusively to Capital and is now revealing details about what will happen next for the group.

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The creditors of the insolvent department store chain Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof can only expect a manageable payment at the end of the insolvency proceedings. If the insolvency plan is accepted by the creditors’ meeting on May 28, around 22.5 million euros will be available to be distributed to the creditors, according to the plan by Galeria insolvency administrator Stefan Denkhaus. The document, which Denkhaus submitted to the Essen district court at the end of April, is available exclusively to Capital.

Denkhaus writes that the department store group’s creditors can “probably” expect a total quota of 2.5 percent. The amount will be paid out in two steps: First, the creditors will receive a “basic quota” of probably 0.5 percent of their claims against the company. An initial amount of 4.5 million euros is earmarked for this. A supplement is planned at a later date, the amount of which “cannot yet be conclusively quantified,” the insolvency plan states. This “improvement quota” will probably amount to two percent.

Denkhaus had already recently prepared those creditors whose claims are not specifically secured for a rate in the single-digit percentage range. In response to a request from Capital, a spokesperson for the administrator now said that Denkhaus expects an insolvency rate of “2.5 to 3 percent.” If Galeria receives payments from claims against companies belonging to the former parent company Signa, which is also insolvent, this would “increase the insolvency rate.”

In the event that the creditors’ meeting on May 28th does not approve the insolvency plan, the company will have to be broken up and wound up, warns the administrator in his insolvency plan. In this case, there would be “no distributable mass” – so the creditors would come away completely empty-handed.

Germany’s last large department store chain, which recently had a turnover of 2.8 billion euros, is currently in its third insolvency proceedings since 2020. In January, Galeria filed for insolvency again in the wake of the series of bankruptcies at the Austrian Signa Group owned by investor René Benko. In the protective shield and insolvency proceedings in 2020 and 2022/2023, creditors – such as suppliers, service providers, the Federal Employment Agency, social insurance providers and the state Corona rescue fund WSF – had already waived billions in total.

At the beginning of April, the current insolvency administrator Denkhaus from the law firm BRL announced the sale of the chain to a consortium of US entrepreneur Richard Baker and the former Coty boss Bernd Beetz after a week-long investor process. The number of employees is to be reduced from 12,800 to 11,400 .

More than 40 million euros for insolvency proceedings

The current insolvency plan now provides insights into the situation at the former Signa subsidiary after the new insolvency – and into the planned restructuring steps for the recovery. In the document, Denkhaus puts the claims of the non-subordinate, unsecured creditors registered by the end of April at up to 886 million euros. These creditors are therefore mostly landlords, but also the Federal Employment Agency (for the insolvency benefit), social insurance providers, employees and the tax authorities. The vast majority of the retail chain’s suppliers, on the other hand, benefit from trade credit insurance.

Source: Stern

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