Germany: Creditors approve restructuring plan for Thielmann Ucon

Creditors have approved the restructuring plan for Thielmann Ucon GmbH, as the container manufacturer from Hausach in Germany announced on Monday. Thus, Thielmann Ucon can return to regular business operations.

In March, the company asked for insolvency protection proceedings (“Schutzschirmverfahren”) as per Article 270b of the German Insolvency Statute as the company was severly hit by the COVID19 pandemic. (, 21.3.2021)

In the brewing and beverage industry, the name Thielmann is especially known for its stainless steel beer kegs. However, the keg business was not affected by the proceedings, as Thielmann Ucon in Germany mainly produces Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) and the keg business is done at Thielmann Portinox Spain S.A. in Pulianas, Granada, Spain.

Thielmann is one of three major business activities of Heritage B Group, registered in Zug, Switzerland, with TEKA (leading kitchen supplier for high-quality built-in appliances and kitchen sinks as well as a wide range of kitchen fittings) and Strom (Supplier of high-quality, design-oriented fittings for the bathroom) being the other two activities.

The protective shield procedure in self-administration which basically meant "restructuring under insolvency protection" allowed for a "quick and efficient restructuring" the company said in a press release. "These operational improvements are reflected, among other things, in the company's finances,” the press statement reads. The balance sheet has been strengthened by around ten million euros, which helps to achieve the long-term strategic goals more quickly.

"After the recent drop in demand in the market - due to the Corona crisis, the reluctance to invest is clearly noticeable in various customer segments,” CEO Igor Ferlan said. “Thielmann Ucon GmbH has to become more flexible in order to be able to adapt to the changed demand situation. With this we want to further expand our strengths from the past - market-compliant lead times paired with the highest quality standards for the benefit of our customers", he added.

In order to achieve the necessary cost savings and flexibility, Thielmann Ucon outsourced 20 employees in a transfer company where they have ten months to find new employment. "If we manufacture 20 percent fewer containers, we also need fewer people to produce them," Ferlan told the Mittelbadische Presse at the end of April.

Although this was not specifically mentioned in the press release, it seems clear that the remaining 130 employees also had to make their contribution to the restructuring of the company. In April, an increase in weekly working hours without wage compensation and the waiver of vacation and Christmas bonuses for two years were on the agenda.

Most importantly, the approval of the restructuring plan means that the remaining jobs and the future of Thielmann Ucon in Hausach is now secured and that customers can continue to keep their trust in a company which was hit hard by the pandemic through no fault of their own.

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