Germany: Dispute over ownership of Oettinger Group settled

Oettinger Brauerei, third biggest brewing group in Germany and No. 26 in world-wide ranking, has settled by arbitration a dispute over the ownership structure of the company.

Uncertainties about who owns how many shares arose when managing partner Dirk Kollmar - aged just 50 - unexpectedly passed away because of cardiac problems in May 2014 only one year after the death of his father Günther Kollmar, who took over the centuries old Fürstliches Brauhaus zu Oettingen in 1956 and made Oettinger one of the leading breweries in Germany. When Dirk died, he held about 80% of the brewery’s shares. Part of them were a donation from his mother Ingrid Kollmar on the condition that the shares should fall back to her in case her son should die before her.

As this happened in 2014, Astrid Kollmar, widow of the deceased Dirk Kollmar and executor of his will demanded the shares for her and her two sons Dennis Kollmar (born in 1994) and Kevin Kollmar (born in 2002), who had already received part of the shares in question from their father. As her mother-in-law refused to do so, Astrid brought the matter before the Regional Court of Augsburg. She also filed a second complaint against a decision of the company's advisory board granting her mother-in-law a highly endowed consultancy agreement with the company with retroactive effect. After she lost in both cases Astrid appealed the sentence and the case was brought to the next higher court in Munich.

However, it looks like both sides have settled now the dispute behind the scenes. The company released an announcement these days saying said that “the intermediate unclear business conditions at the Oettinger Brauerei have been bindingly settled in a so-called arbitration case.”  The Bavarian branch of the family with Ingrid Kollmar and her daughter Pia Kollmar hold now about 75% of the company’s shares, while the Thuringian branch with Astrid, Dennis and Kevin Kollmar stay with the remaining 25%.

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