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The restructuring of Gesamthafenbetriebsverein im Lande Bremen e. V. (GHBV), the personnel service provider for the twin ports of Bremen/Bremerhaven, has reached a significant milestone: negotiations with employee representatives have been concluded. This is an important prerequisite to restructuring GHBV. Concurrently, the Local Court of Bremen opened debtor-in-possession proceedings on 1 March 2021 and appointed attorney Mr Edgar Grönda from law firm Schultze & Braun as insolvency monitor. He had previously acted as provisional insolvency monitor for the company. Managing director Mr Klaus Rommel and chief restructuring officer Dr Christian Kaufmann from PLUTA Rechtsanwalts GmbH are responsible for the restructuring.
Comprehensive restructuring concept
The restructuring concept can now be implemented. This provides for extensive reorganisation measures and a sustainable realignment of the staff structure, which are intended to secure GHBV’s long-term future. Negotiations with employee representatives on the restructuring concept were concluded following several rounds of discussions, resulting in the agreement of a reconciliation of interests and social plan. In order to help mitigate the impact of the necessary staff cuts, with 140 jobs to go in the operating area and 11 in administration, the employees affected will be offered a transfer to an interim employment company. Partial retirement models will also be used. GHBV currently employs around 1,000 people.
Chief restructuring officer Dr Kaufmann said: “The staff cuts are necessary to reduce costs and make the port service provider competitive again. The negotiations over recent days have been very constructive, and I appreciate that. We have worked with all involved to come up with measures that will allow us to put GHBV on a viable footing. I would also like to particularly thank the employees, who gave us their full cooperation over recent weeks, in spite of all of the uncertainty, and continued to reliably perform their duties. It is now incumbent on all involved, including employees, to implement the approved restructuring concept.”
“Now that the debtor-in-possession proceedings have been opened, getting the creditors’ approval for the insolvency plan is the next legal step,” said insolvency monitor Mr Grönda. A discussion and voting meeting will be held in late April 2021 for this purpose. “However, the first steps in the restructuring process will already be taken today. Therefore, all involved will have to work on jointly implementing the mutually determined concept from the outset.”
The proceedings are expected to be fully completed by the middle of 2021.