Dr Grub confirmed as insolvency administrator

Hess AG: Press statement of the insolvency administrator

(PresseBox) ( Villingen-Schwenningen, )
In the course of the insolvency proceedings of the company Hess AG Form + Licht, the meeting of creditors was held on 26th June, 2013, at Local Court of Villingen- Schwenningen. Stuttgart lawyer Dr Volker Grub was confirmed by a large majority in office as insolvency administrator by the well-attended and turbulent meeting with just under 50 creditors. The applications of Christoph Hess and six companies related to him to deselect Mr Dr Grub were rejected.

The creditors' committee, which was already installed by the court on 20th February, 2013, with Thomas Harbrecht (Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs AG), Reiner Neumeister (Chief Authorised Representative and Managing Director of IG Metall Villingen-Schwenningen) and Frank Schulze (Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden) was also elected.

Dr Grub identified liabilities relevant to the insolvency proceedings amounting to € 104,9 million. These include claims for damages from the shareholders on the occasion of going public on 25th October, 2012, with € 35,65 million and from the minority shareholder HPE Pro Institutional Fund B.V. Amsterdam with € 14,0 million. As determined by Dr Grub, the assets only amount to € 32,75 million resulting in an overindebtedness of approx. € 72,1 million. Hence, one can only expect a quota of at most 16%. Provided, however, that the further processing continues favourably.

Dr Grub reported to the creditors' meeting that the balance sheets from the year 2007 onwards must be corrected due to false accounting. On the basis of the net income (earning after taxes) there is a need for correction so far in the amount of at least € 26,4 million for the years 2007 to 2012. These numbers were also confirmed by the auditing company Ebner Stolz Mönning Bachem. The net income for the financial year 2011 alone needs to be adjusted downwards by € 10,3 million.

The correction of balance sheets does not exclusively serve to correct the tax balance sheets and to reclaim paid taxes, but also serves as basis of liability with regard to the previous Management Board Christoph Hess and Peter Ziegler, supervisory board members and consultants when going public.

The continuation of book values of the former Management Board lead to a totally different result at the accounting date 30th April, 2013. Assets reached € 74,3 million while liabilities amount to € 33,6 million. The accounting so far even results in € 40,7 million equity capital. The significant differences arise from the claims for damages on the part of the shareholders with € 49,6 million, not considered liabilities of Hess AG for subsidiaries, associated companies and companies of the "shadow world" with € 20,3 million as well as allowances for intangible assets and investments.

Meanwhile, Dr Grub is satisfied with the continuation of the company. The target figures are being reached. The income from the continuation of business operations covers the resulting expenses in full.

The investor process extends due to the balance sheet manipulations becoming known and the mentioned financial figures and the intertwining being questioned strongly. The takeover negotiations, nevertheless, proceed promising. Estimated takeover offers exist alone from four interested parties. The prolonged talks with investors are, however, no cause for concern. Employees and managers are convinced that it is possible to continue work successfully within the framework of the insolvency proceedings because the current progress can be described as positive.
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