German sports products manufacturer Kettler has filed for and received a composition. The Kettler family wants to relaunch itself and block a take-over from an investment firm at the same time.
The German Kettler firm, founded in 1949 by Heinz Kettler, became famous with its 'Original Kettcar', a go-cart that has been sold 15 million times since 1962. Even Michael Schumacher had one when he was little. Another page in Kettler's history was written when it introduced the aluminum bike in 1977.
The times have changed however: the company, based in North Rhine - Westphalia, asked for a composition on Tuesday. The family-run business, now in the hands of daughter Karin Kettler, is looking for a sizeable investment, worth more than 10 million euro. Talks with a foreign investor fell through earlier this week and to "avoid an undesired take-over from a financial investor" and to "restructure the company", it has now filed for and received judicial protection.
It is not the first time Kettler has gone through a rough patch: back in 2009, it was forced to lay off hundreds of people and it only managed a 200 million turnover in 2013, more than 100 million euro lower than 5 years before.
Product range too extensive and manufacturing costs too high
Kettler's problems sound familiar. The manufacturer has a relatively extensive product range (pingpong tables, garden furniture and even fitness appliances), which does not bode well for its costs. On the other hand, it has high manufacturing costs, as almost everything is 'made in Germany', while many of its competitors have moved to countries with lower wages.
Kettler currently employs 1,100 people in its main office in Ense and in its four other German locations. Some 20 people work at its Benelux office in the Netherlands.