10.10.2019 – 08:53
elumeo SE: Jewellery retailer faced insolvency
Berliner Sparkasse refused to extend Multimillion Loan
Growing scepticism among elumeos suppliers
Shareholder demands special auditor
In view of the latest revelations on the financial situation of the German jewelry trading group elumeo SE, anchor shareholder Ottoman Strategic Holdings (Suisse) S.A. is once again strengthening its demand for a special auditor to investigate the actual economic situation and management decisions under the chairmanship of Board Chairman Wolfgang Boyé. According to the latest internal company information, elumeo SE was on the verge of insolvency shortly after the main lender Berliner Sparkasse refused to extend a loan worth millions. In the meantime, the sceptical voices of suppliers in India, who no longer regard elumeo as a reliable trading partner, are also increasing.
In connection with the financial decline of PWK Jewellery Company in Thailand and the loss of over 600 jobs, Bernd Fischer, Wolfgang Boyé and Thomas Jarmuske are being investigated in Thailand. The public prosecutor's office in Berlin also investigated the three managers, but closed the investigation. At present, the General Prosecutor's Office is investigating whether the investigations should be resumed. Elumeo SE also has to deal with a multi-million lawsuit. In the complaint, the elumeo managers are accused of having ordered jewellery worth over 30 million euros from the jewellery manufacturer PWK, a subsidiary of the company elumeo, and of having paid only a small fraction of this amount, which eventually led to the illiquidity of PWK.
In the meantime, elumeo has also massively lost credibility among its suppliers of jewellery and precious stones in Jaipur (India). After elumeo SE had driven its jewellery manufacturing subsidiary PWK Jewellery Company into the wall in Thailand, the Berlin jewellery retailer now procured jewellery and precious stones from third parties, including companies in Jaipur (India). There, however, scepticism about eluemo SE as a reliable and liquid trading partner is growing in view of the latest developments and relevations. The stumbling CEO of elumeo, Ingo Stober, felt this scepticism massively at the last Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.
In the summer of 2018, the liquidity situation of both Elumeo SE and the Thai PWK deteriorated. Sales figures collapsed. The eleumeo Mangament was not able to sell nearly as many pieces of jewelry via TV and the Internet as predicted. To the surprise of the elumeo management, the bank did not extend a million loan granted by Berliner Sparkasse to Elumeo SE. The company was thus faced with a delay.
In view of the massively falling sales of elumeo SE, which sells far less jewellery through distribution channels such as Juwelo TV than previously announced, the jewellery manufacturing subsidiary PWK Jewellery proved to be a burden for the group, which now wanted to get rid of it together with the workers. However, this did not prove to be that easy, as under Thai labour law every dismissed employee is entitled to a statutory severance payment. In view of the financially disastrous situation and the threat of bankruptcy, elumeo wanted to avoid these severance payments for over 600 employees. In fact, Bernd Fischer directly instructed the PWK directors to "try to determine how much personnel/costs could be reduced without severance pay". The directors informed Fischer that this was illegal in Thailand. Among the employees of PWK Jewellery Company Bernd Fischer is referred to as the "Architect of Misery".
A trick to embellish Elumeo SE's balance sheet was to get rid of the high debts to the (grandchild) subsidiary PWK without further ado. A "subordination agreement" agreed between the (newly appointed) managing director of Silverline and Juwelo Deutsch-land GmbH (Juwelo - another subsidiary of Elumeo SE) on 6 September 2018 served this purpose, with the result that all claims of PWK passed on to Juwelo (or Elumeo SE) via Silverline no longer needed to be serviced under group law for an indefinite period of time.
Despite the subordination agreement, which meant that not only all old receivables, but also newly arising receivables of PWK against the companies of the Elumeo Group no longer needed to be serviced for an indefinite period of time, on 17 September 2018 the member of the Board of Directors Jarmuske ordered another jewelry delivery from PWK for the Juwelo, which was delivered from Thailand to Berlin on 24 September 2018 and invoiced at 347,408.78 euros. The jewellery delivery was received by the Juwelo, but was not paid for as a result. Attorney Dr. Gerhard Strate: "It is obvious that this is a fraud to the detriment of PWK. It is indisputable that this invoice has not been paid to PWK to this day. The public prosecutor's office in Berlin does not claim the contrary either.
Ottoman Strategy Holdings points out that both elumeo's management and Shareholder Frankfurt Performance Management FPM under Raik Hoffmann had prevented the appointment of a special auditor at previous general meetings to investigate management's business.
Attorney Roderich Schaetze
Schäfflerstr. 8, 80333 München
Telefon: +49 (89) 2040026 0
Telefax: + 48 (89) 2040026 10
Original content of: Roderich Schätze, transmitted by news aktuell