Date Published: 18th August 2009
On February 4th 2009, German model train maker Märklin, based in Göppingen, filed for the opening of insolvency proceedings. The proceedings were opened on March 31. Since Märklin is considered one of Germany's traditional companies, the country's biggest news magazine, "Der Spiegel", took the opportunity to dedicate a feature to the work of the trustee in insolvency, Michael Pluta. (By Ralf Hoppe, Ansbert Kneip)
"Märklin, Schiesser, Karmann, Rosenthal – more and more companies that sound like the old Federal Republic of Germany are becoming bankrupt. This is the high time of the trustees. One of the industry's stars, Michael Pluta, is the one they hope will save the German toymaker.
The Spiegel magazine outlines all the details of the insolvency proceedings, all the way to the restructuring measures being announced. The article describes the arrival of the file for insolvency at the Stuttgart district court on February 4th, as well as the hectic activity that broke out between Jan Bandszer, the district and insolvency judge, and his officer of justice, Binder, when trying to choose the trustee and during the following search for Michael Pluta's phone number. After the phone call "Michael Pluta took responsibility for 1,400 employees, two production plants, warehouses and two subsidiaries, LBG and Trix, both based in Nuremberg", writes the magazine. The article also describes a trustee's typical day at the office: investigate the situation at the company's headquarters, take part in the Nuremberg toy fair, secure the assets, check the balance sheets, cancel contracts with consultants, dismiss the managing directors, and then restructure the company, which indeed is in big trouble - the number of products the company makes is unknown, there is no cost accounting - "They lost overview", says Pluta in the magazine. "The question is: can Märklin survive in today's children's rooms?" The article ends with the company meeting, at which Michael Pluta announces layoffs and further restructuring activities. However, it may be many more months before he will put the company into investors' hands. "Märklin will by then no longer be the same company as before", writes the "Spiegel".
Following graduation from the University of Hull, Julian qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand in Leeds. After a short time with Baker Tilly, in 1989, together with David Wilson, he established Wilson Pitts, a specialist independent practice dealing with all aspects of insolvency and corporate recovery work. In 2006, the Wilson Pitts practice was acquired by Begbies Traynor where Julian is now the Joint Regional Managing Partner for the North-East region.