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Westfleisch Takes Over Gausepohl Beef Division

20 February 2015

GERMANY - German meat processor and farming cooperative, Westfleisch has taken over the beef division of Gausepohl.

The beef division of Gausepohl went into insolvency at teh end of last year.

Initially, German pig meat processing giant Toennies Fleisch was negotiating to take over the company, but talks fell through in November last year.

Now, an agreement for the sale of the company to Munster-based Westfleisch has been signed in close consultation with the provisional creditors’ committee.

As well as the acquisition of all the assets of the two insolvent companies, Gausepohl Qualitätsfleisch GmbH & Co KG and Fleischversand Heinz Gausepohl GmbH & Co KG including teh factory equipment, machinery and technical equipmen at the two sites in Dissen and Bakum, the purchase agreement also provides for the takeover of all the employees of both companies. Around 100 people are employed in the beef division.

Neither side are revealing details of the deal, but the insolvency administrator has said that the purchase price could lead to a high recovery rate for creditors of up to 50 per cent.

The average rate for creditors in insolvency proceedings in Germany stands at around five per cent.

The major creditors in the proceedings are mainly farmers and cattle dealers in the region.

The signing of the agreement was preceded by intensive negotiations with different investors during the investor process initiated by the preliminary insolvency administrator. Finally the offer by Westfleisch eG won the competition between bidders.

The insolvency proceedings for both of the insolvent companies in the beef division of the Gausepohl Group were officially opened on 1 February 2015, by means of the corresponding decisions of the responsible district court in Osnabrück. At the same time Dr. Malte Köster, up to that point the temporary insolvency administrator, was also appointed as insolvency administrator for both companies.

The beef division of the Gausepohl Group had a turnover of around €150 million.

The Bundeskartellamt [Federal Cartel Office] has given its approval for the takeover.

Dr. Malte Köster, the insolvency administrator said: “The takeover by Westfleisch has created a sustainable solution for the future.

“We have succeeded in realising a high recovery rate for the claims by farmers and cattle dealers, and at the same time all the employees are being taken over.

“Both aspects were important elements of the investor process, and were also of major importance for the management as far as the insolvency proceedings were concerned.

“The bidder process was intensive, but was handled responsibly and fairly at all times by everyone involved. The financial reconstruction has thus been successfully completed three months after the insolvency application was submitted. We wish the whole team all the best for the new start.”

Dr. Helfried Giesen, spokesman for the Executive Board of Westfleisch said: “Westfleisch regards the expansion of its coverage of the cattle segment in North-West Germany as a good opportunity for further stabilising the beef market in terms of self-service meat, frozen convenience products, the fresh meat business and exports”.

Westfleisch Executive Board member Carsten Schruck said: “We are looking forward to working successfully with the suppliers and previous customers of the plants in Bakum and Dissen, and also with the employees at both sites. Over the next few weeks we will be working together on joint concepts for the future.”

TheMeatSite News Desk

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