After three insolvencies, the manufacturer has now finally come to an end. After 70 years, the traditional company has to close its German plants. According to Kettler, production in Germany is not possible to cover costs. Kettler Alu-Rad GmbH, which consists of Heinz Kettler GmbH & Co. KG, will continue to exist in the future.

“We can’t continue production. It is no longer viable in the current structure,” says Martin Lambrecht, a lawyer who advises the Kettler management in the insolvency proceedings initiated at the end of July.

At a works meeting, the remaining 550 Kettler employees were informed of the management’s decision to close the company. With the opening of the insolvency proceedings, the revocable release of the 400 employees was granted. “For the time being, we will continue to work with 144 employees in order to handle production,” said the lawyer.

Thrown off the rails

Kettler has achieved a high degree of recognition above all through the Kettcars, which the company founder Heinz Kettler invented in 1961. After the Second World War, the company founder established the company as one of the leading manufacturers of sports equipment, bicycles and garden furniture on the market. To date, more than 15 million warp cars have been sold.

But in recent years things have been getting worse for the traditional company. Already three times the responsible persons of the Kettler Freizeit GmbH had to go to the insolvency court within four years. Two of these cases have temporarily secured the company’s continued existence. The third time, however, this was no longer possible.

Descent after the death of Heinz Kettler

After the death of Heinz Kettler in 2005, business started to get worse. Hundreds of jobs had to be cut at Kettler in 2009. In 2015, the traditional company filed for insolvency in its own administration for the first time. After the reduction of 200 jobs and the sale of the bicycle division to the Zweirad-Einkaufs-Genossenschaft eG (ZEG) based in Cologne, Heinz Kettler GmbH & Co. KG. started a new beginning.

Entry of the financial investor

In 2018 Kettler had to file for bankruptcy again. At times, a closure of the company seemed even more likely than a continuation. The entry of financial investor Lafayette Mittelstand Capital at the beginning of the year gave rise to renewed hope. At that time, the new owner announced that with Kettler he wanted to “turn the corner from a traditional to a trend brand”. But only after seven months did the company have to file for bankruptcy again. Lafayette has not yet commented on the decision to close the company. “There will no longer be a Kettler as before. The brand name may possibly continue to exist, but there will no longer be products made in Germany,” Lambrecht said.


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Kettler files for bankruptcy again

Link: The end for Kettler Freizeit GmbH.
Image: Kettler