Insolvent German shipyard Bavaria Yachtbau announced on Wednesday that the planned sale of the company will not take place by the end of July, as originally announced.
Tobias Brinkmann, interim managing director of the over-indebted yard, told float magazine in an exclusive interview that it would take a few more weeks to successfully complete the sales process after the Bavaria insolvency.
Brinkmann, a restructuring expert from law firm Brinkmann & Partners, joined Bavaria’s management board in April following CEO Lutz Henkel's departure from the company.
“The investor process for the sale of Bavaria Yachtbau, started in May, is at an advanced stage. We are negotiating with several interested bidders and want to reach a conclusion as soon as possible in August,” says Bavaria in a statement.
In a remarkable spurt, Bavaria says it completed numerous orders at the start of the season and delivered a three-digit number of new boats to customers in the past three months. The aim was to maintain the trust of customers and dealers.
And while the German Employment Agency paid the salaries of around 600 employees at the Giebelstadt plant in the past three months, the money now comes from the company itself – namely from the insolvency estate. According to Brinkmann, there were no more layoffs than usual for the season.
The strategy of the new management to present the potential buyer of the shipyard with a full order book seems to have been successful. According to Brinkmann, there are customer purchase announcements “in clear three-digit numbers” for new sailing yachts and motorboats from Bavaria.
IBI correspondent Stefan Gerhardt, head of operations at float magazine, spoke with Tobias Brinkmann about Bavaria’s current state of affairs.
How many boats have been produced since the insolvency report in April?
In insolvency proceedings, which is the time period from 23 April to 1 July, we delivered 123 boats. A considerable amount was added in July, bringing the total to around 170. This can only be achieved if the company is fully maintained, the employees work well and the suppliers deliver. Everything went well.
Which models were produced? Also novelties from 2018, a C 65 maybe?
Of course we also produced new models which we presented at boot Düsseldorf in January 2018, especially the C 57 and the C 45 for sailboats. The C 65 is a special boat, because this ship is not built in Giebelstadt, but by a supplier in Croatia. We picked up one C65 immediately after submitting the insolvency application, another one was completed there by a customer in the application procedure. But that is not the model on which we have focused. We have concentrated on the boats, which are manufactured in our own production site.
Have all dealers been served with the ordered boats?
We supplied almost all dealers according to contract. In some cases, individual special insolvency regulations had to be made. This applied particularly for boats, which were fully paid as the insolvency application was submitted.
This was extremely important for the dealers, because otherwise subsequent bankruptcies could have been possible. This is very positive for the shipyard because customers are paying us back with their trust and orders for the new financial year.
How many boats have you been able to acquire?
A clear three-digit number. This is a substantial foundation with which a future owner can start anew here.
After the insolvency, the German Federal Labour Office took over the labour costs. Who pays the salary from now on?
Insolvency money is only available for a maximum of 3 months before the opening of insolvency proceedings, which was here on July 1. As of July 1, wages must be paid out of the insolvency estate again.
Have there been layoffs since April?
There were only a small number of layoffs, we have an almost stable core workforce. However, there was a seasonal reduction in temporary staff.
Will the entire workforce be transferred to August?
Yes, but for seasonal reasons we applied for short-time working on July 1.
When do you start again? A buyer is to be presented in the course of August. Would the regular start be on September 1?
Full operation would resume in September.
What if this were to drag on longer? Will you start up again first?
No. We would like to close in August because the company needs a new owner. But we are confident. We’re negotiating with several interested bidders and want to achieve a conclusion as soon as possible in August. But Bavaria is not sold until the contract is signed.