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roboexpert GmbH & Co. KG from Melle, near Osnabrück, has filed for insolvency. By its decision taken on 1 November 2021, the Local Court of Osnabrück ordered provisional insolvency proceedings and appointed Mr Stefan Meyer from PLUTA Rechtsanwalts GmbH as provisional administrator.
roboexpert specialises in the trade and distribution of high-quality household and garden robots, garden tools and e-bikes. It generated sales of 34 million euros in 2020. The 32 employees have already been informed of the current situation during a staff meeting. Their salaries are guaranteed for a period of three months thanks to specific substitute benefits provided under German insolvency law. The specialist retailer has its head office in Melle and a logistics centre and store in Düsseldorf. There are also subsidiaries in Meppen and Berlin. All are to remain operational, along with the popular roboexpert online shop.
As is often the case in these situations, the reasons for the crisis are complex. However, the main problem in recent months has been issues with the supply of goods – particularly a source of significant difficulty for online retailers experiencing rapid growth, who depend on a fast turnaround of goods. The supply issues are attributable to a number of factors, including financing matters, the coronavirus pandemic, the semiconductor crisis and general difficulties with the procurement of raw materials. roboexpert, which has pursued a growth strategy in recent years, was not financially prepared for this tough situation and did not have the reserves needed to meet ongoing business needs. In the end, it had no choice but to file for insolvency.
“Together with management, we are now holding important discussions with business partners and suppliers in order to achieve our primary objective of keeping the business operational in the best possible way. We are also in the process of gaining an overview of the company’s current situation. We will stabilise the business and review possible restructuring options over the coming weeks. A structured sales (M&A) process has been initiated for this purpose. Our goal is to achieve a very fast and sustainable solution for this specialist retailer,” explained the experienced PLUTA restructuring expert Mr Meyer. He will be supported in the team by attorney Mr Christoph Chrobok, business lawyer Mr Alexander Beiring and others.
Comprehensive range of products and services
roboexpert GmbH & Co. KG, advised by attorney Mr Joachim Walterscheid of law firm Walterscheid Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH prior to filing for insolvency, was founded in 2016 by managing director Mr Andre Kohlmann. Today, the company has online shops in Germany and another twelve European countries and is by its own account Europe’s most important and foremost online distributor in its segment. roboexpert offers household and garden robots as well as garden tools in its own online shops, including robot lawn mowers, robotic pool cleaners, robot vacuums and mops, and robot window cleaners, plus traditional garden tools, equipment and accessories. The products are sold via its online shops and a store in Düsseldorf. In addition to products from well-known brand manufacturers, a good specialist retailer will always have a comprehensive service offering as well. In the case of roboexpert, this includes a service for laying boundary wires for robot lawn mowers, blade replacement, inspections and more conducted by the company’s own staff. In addition to the core range, roboexpert also offers a large selection of high-quality e-bikes through its additional ebikeXpert segment.
Attorney Mr Stefan Meyer has many years of experience in restructuring and turning around companies in debtor-in-possession and ordinary insolvency proceedings. Recently, for example, he and his team delivered a restructuring solution for Maschinenfabrik Möllers GmbH in Beckum in May 2021.