Discount battle on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - consequences of the price war for the retail trade
Whether online or in the stationary trade: the American trend of discount shopping for the traditional Thanksgiving celebration has long since conquered Europe and thus also Germany. We are talking about Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday, the shopping days with the highest turnover in German retail. The Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) forecasts a new record turnover of € 3.1 billion. This is equivalent to a sales growth of 22%.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter, Christmas – the buyer quickly loses the overview in the discount rain. It's a psychological game with the customer. Discounts have a verifiable effect on the brain and thus on the customer's decision to buy. But discounts do not only have positive effects. The radical discounting of goods at certain predictable points in time has an effect on the customer's buying behaviour: the bargain hunter and the cheapskate wait exactly for this recurring discount, in order to access it quickly and withdraw again for the rest of the year.
The regular customer, on the other hand, doubts the credibility or the quality of the dealers due to the strongly fluctuating prices or even feels cheated.
Traders who encounter campaigns like Black Friday without a good pricing strategy can only lose.
On today's Black Friday, buyers will again be lured with great discounts: Buyers supposedly save up to 90% on Black Friday. Dealer giants such as Amazon or Zalando have been advertising with particularly low prices since the beginning of the week. The customer rubs his hands and is in the starting blocks – ready to make as many good deals as possible. But the decisive factor is not the high turnover, but the profit. Dealers face a problem: if they don't offer discounts or don't keep up with competitors' discounts, they lose their customers and the corresponding turnover to the competition. Those who do not calculate their discounts well in the fight for the best deals, however, lose not only in the Christmas business, but also their profit margin due to too low prices. The success of a discount campaign for the retailer therefore depends on a good pricing strategy. From an economic point of view, therefore, providing an entire assortment with a blanket discount is the most unwise strategic move – unless the strategy envisages raising prices beforehand and offering "sham discounts" that deceive the customers. Here the dealer must ask himself which philosophy he represents and what value the customer's trust has for him. The danger of lasting damage to the company is probably as great as the chance of success. The question arises as to the development of these discount days. Where is the discount battle to go? How will stationary retailers in particular deal with the cost pressure?
Singles Day in China sets the example: instead of advertising with ever larger discounts, THE Shopping Day of the Year is staged as an event that conveys a message: Dear Singles, give yourselves a present. Customers automatically associate a special experience with this day. Especially via television they are emotionally picked up and animated to buy, similar to teleshopping. Although promotional prices are also used here, they apparently play a secondary role.
The German retail trade should also explore similar strategies and create an emotional link to the experience that goes beyond discounts. These stimuli make the shopping experience individual and the visit to the store attractive, can significantly influence the customer experience and contribute to the positive shopping experience and thus to customer loyalty.
The increasing importance of strategic versus operational leadership
Organizations and individuals - we are all confronted with the effects of the digital revolution. We enjoy positive effects and opportunities, but how do we deal with the challenges and what are the drivers for successful change in companies?
A look at nature shows that a successful strategy in dealing with radical change involves a healthy mixture of resistance and adaptation. Adapting the corporate strategy both internally and externally thus becomes an elementary task for managers. They become pioneers and designers for leadership, process and relationship quality. Resilience plays an important role here. But how do you adapt a corporate strategy that includes structures which promote resilience?
Talcott Parsons' AGIL scheme can support you in this:
A - "Adaptation": reacting quickly and efficiently to changes
G - "GoalAttainment": in spite of flexible ways not losing sight of the goals and measuring their achievement
I - "Integration": integrating new developments into business models and processes
L - "Latent Pattern Maintenance": Living Trial & Error
Our author, Dr. Bernhard Becker, together with Silvia Braumandl, Christian Jacobs and Verena Riedinger, has published an article on this subject in the Zeitschrift für Corporate Governance (04.19). It can be downloaded here.
Staff excursion 2019
A review of our employee trip to Papenburg on the last weekend of October: It got really hot at comes. And that doesn't refer to the weather, but our tyre temperatures. Because on the test tracks of Automotive Testing Papenburg (ATP) we really put the pedal to the metal. On Saturday, Meyer Werft left a lasting impression.
This year's trip started with a Jour fixe. In addition to new tools, the focus was on current legal issues relating to restructuring. We ended the JF with a case study. Afterwards we started off our actual excursion in a cosy bar in Papenburg.
Friday was really exciting. All day long we were able to put our vehicles, but above all ourselves, to the test on ATP's tracks. How long is the braking distance during an emergency stop with aquaplaning or even on ice? What is it like to drift around bends on wet roads? How does my vehicle behave when the wheels drive on different road conditions? How does my reaction time and motor function change when I am distracted? And how do I get out of my car when it has overturned? We were able to find out the answers to all these questions ourselves, and in the process we produced a lot of adrenaline.
After "fast" on Friday it became big and impressive on Saturday: our destination was the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg. During the factory tour we could first dive into the history of the shipyard and then marvel at the cruise giants under construction. It was impressive to see how the huge cruise ships are built, which have as many leisure possibilities and space to offer as a small town.
This trip will remain in our memory. But we are already looking forward to what awaits us next year!
Financial partners must rethink in times of climate change
The topic determines the width of the current media landscape. Many economic participants are concerned with the consequences for their companies. Investment decisions are not always made solely with a view to increasing profits or optimising returns.
First enterprises are ready to do without a part of profits in order to make production procedures or products greener.
In Germany, where for decades the implementation of investment measures has been characterised by a high level of involvement of external funds, not only the companies but also the currently crisis-ridden banks and savings banks play a decisive role in the implementation of investments.
The relevant systems of credit institutions, however, essentially focus on the return and equity ratios of past years when assessing a company.
The conscious decision to forego returns in order to produce in an environmentally conscious and resource-conserving manner can lead to discussions with lenders in individual cases, as long as return ratios and thus ultimately equity development are affected.
Well off are the companies that, following these trends, can also afford to limit their returns. Broadly speaking, however, it will also depend on the understanding of financial partners and the responsible use of rating systems to achieve sustainable improvements in the emission of climate-damaging emissions by companies.
As in many cases in the past, the state supports the various possible investment measures with loans and security through deficiency guarantees. Before applying for a loan, it is all the more important for the individual companies to reach an agreement with their banks on the results of their rating procedures.
If the investment decision is driven by the fact that official conditions must be fulfilled, it is usually too late for parts of the market participants to obtain money from the credit institutions.
In all cases, comes uses the extensive knowledge from around 1,000 mandates to create understanding and transparency between companies and banks for the respective objectives.
comes keeps growing
Since September, Ms. Frohberg has been working in the marketing, university marketing and events department at the Oldenburg location. This includes in particular the online presence of comes in the social media as well as the cross-location coordination and organisation of events organised by comes. She is also involved in our joint venture partner Hase & Igel.
Previously, Ms. Frohberg worked as a Junior Marketing and Sales Manager in the sports industry.
In October this year, Mr. Geppert joined our Hamburg location as a consultant for the areas of restructuring and insolvency management.
During his previous activities as treasury manager at various medium-sized companies, his areas of responsibility included liquidity planning, risk management and reporting.
Since October 2019, Mr. Kriest has been supporting the Berlin office in digitization issues in the area of "Shaping Success".
Prior to this, he worked parallel to an interdisciplinary course of studies, primarily in the practical implementation of solutions in the areas of digital collaboration and new work.
Why you should take advantage of a Financial Performance Management Software for your company
As an entrepreneur, you need reliable figures on which to base your business planning and strategic decisions. The complex Excel spreadsheets you keep for this are often error-prone and confusing. In addition, it takes a lot of time and money to keep all tables up to date.
Through an integrated and independently applicable Financial Performance Management Software solution, which enables your company to recognize its own growth potential at a glance and to manage the financial controlling, the processes in your company are accelerated, while at the same time fewer errors can occur. Possible sources of error in the database are identified early on, so that only validated figures are reported. This creates the basis for holistic, future-oriented corporate management and growth.
In LucaNet's Financial Performance Management software, you collect all your data in one database. The software bundles the processes from consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis in a fully automated application and makes validated data available for your management consolidation, legal consolidation, budget planning with integrated financial planning or for management reporting and reporting. You do not need any IT knowledge to use LucaNet's Financial Performance Management software. The software is fast, easy to adapt and secure to use.
Our certified consultants René Labahn and Dr. Jan Handzlik, with over 10 years of experience in the application, will accompany you during the implementation of the software in your company. In addition to comprehensive consulting, we support you in the preparation of resilient planning and consolidated financial statements, train your employees and support you with our know-how for optimizations.
We will also be happy to provide you with monthly controlling tasks or help you implement LucaNet's financial performance management software or optimize existing applications.
comes hosts 6th benefit soccer tournament in Oldenburg
On Saturday, August 31st, the sixth Charity Soccer Tournament, jointly organised by the Oldenburg Prevention Council and comes Unternehmensberatung, took place.
Following the invitation, six teams met on the open-air grounds of the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. At the end of the afternoon, the Bremen team prevailed in the 'everyone vs. everyone' mode.
This year's winner and the teams of Sparkasse Emsland, Raiffeisenbank Oldenburg, Springer from Stuhr and Heinrich VOSS Gebäudetechnik from Haselünne scored a total of 82 goals in 15 games on the soccer court, so that a total of 6,500 € could be collected for projects of the Oldenburg Prevention Council (PRO). The company DOMO Collection from Hude, which had to cancel due to operational reasons, also contributed to the good result with a donation. It was with great pleasure that we were able to hand over the donation cheque to PRO on September 11th, 2019.
We would like to thank all participants and spectators and look forward to next year!
Successful investor process for Ebeling GmbH in Langenhagen
Plastic and metal processor Ebeling is saved. The Hanover-Langenhagen-based company was taken over by the newly founded Ebeling & Ko. Zerspanungstechnik. The approximately 50 jobs and the company's location have thus been saved. The predecessor company Ebeling GmbH filed for insolvency in April.
The insolvency administrator Ralph Bünning of Schultze & Braun, appointed by the Local Court of Hanover, continued business operations without restriction even after the insolvency petition had been filed. "With the constructive support of the Ebeling family, we were able to stabilize the company quickly," reports Bünning. This enabled Ebeling to continue successfully even after the opening of insolvency proceedings on July 1st. "We were helped above all by the employees, who supported our rescue efforts outstandingly with their commitment, and also by the customers, who remained loyal to the company during the restructuring phase".
Parallel to the restructuring efforts, Bünning exclusively commissioned the Distressed M&A team of comes Unternehmensberatung under the direction of Michael Rabe to structure the search for investors. As a specialised management consultancy comes accompanied the entire sales process, in which numerous regional and supra-regional interested parties were addressed.
At the end of the negotiations, Ebeling & Ko. Zerspanungstechnik GmbH succeeded with its offer. Behind the company is the sole shareholder Thorsten Koch from Wedemark, co-partner of several successful medium-sized companies. Koch will manage the company together with Torben Ebeling as managing director.
Ebeling GmbH had fallen into difficulties after suffering massive losses in turnover due to economic changes, e.g. in the oil industry. At that time, the industry was one of Ebeling's main customers. Although the company took restructuring measures and strategically positioned itself more broadly, these measures ultimately came too late to avoid insolvency. "I am pleased that the sale has enabled us to achieve our goal of creating the basis for Ebeling's long-term survival. The company now again has the opportunity to grow sustainably based on a healthy core," says Bünning. "I wish Ebeling all the best for this."
Successful investor process for SSC Wind from Wildeshausen
comes structures the investor process of the insolvent wind turbine specialist SSC Wind GmbH from Wildeshausen and supports the insolvency administration up to the successful sale to the Buss Group from Hamburg.
SSC Wind GmbH ("SSC"), which specialises in the construction, maintenance and servicing of wind turbines, will be taken over by the Hamburg-based Buss Group ("Buss") on 1 July 2019. In future, the company will operate on the market under the name Buss Wind Services GmbH.
After applying for provisional insolvency proceedings on 8 May 2019, the insolvency administrator Tim Beyer of Schultze & Braun, with the constructive support of the managing directors Mrs Higgen and Mr Eden, quickly stabilised the business operations of SSC and avoided possible unrest among the workforce. As a result, valuable time was gained for a structured investor process in which numerous regional and supra-regional interested parties were involved.
comes summer evening 2019
This year comes again hosted the restructuring afternoon with a subsequent summer evening in the "Villa im Heinepark" on the Elbchaussee.
In the context of the restructuring afternoon a lecture series was offered for interested participants. The current topics ranged from furniture manufacturers in crisis (presented by Dr. Michael Bourjau and Sebastian Mostertz, operations+ Consulting) to a practical case at the Schletter Group (presented by Ole Brauer and Christoph Chardon, Elsäßer Restrukturierung) to an insolvency emergency plan (presented by Dr. Karl-Friedrich Curtze, GÖRG).
Afterwards we welcomed our guests to the summer evening on a large scale. Beside best weather, great musical accompaniment and a delicious barbecue, another highlight of the evening was the speech of our former Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust. In his contribution "Politik für Hamburg - Rückblicke, Ausblicke und Einschätzungen eines Elder Statesman" (Politics for Hamburg - Retrospects, Outlook and Evaluations of an Elder Statesman), Mr. von Beust dealt, among other things, with voter behaviour and the current significance of climate policy. He also commented on voter behaviour in the new federal states and gave his assessment of the declining attractiveness of the profession as a politician. This was rounded off again and again with successes and failures from his career as a politician and First Mayor of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg.
We would like to thank all participants and our guests for an all-round successful event and look forward to next year!
Headwind in the wind energy sector
The German wind industry is in crisis. After the tower builder AMBAU GmbH had already filed for insolvency in February, the Hamburg-based wind energy group Senvion Deutschland GmbH had to take the path of insolvency under its own administration.
The market cannot be cited as the sole reason in the search for the causes of the plight. Since 2010, the installed capacity of wind turbines has almost tripled worldwide. In Germany, renewable energies already account for 17.5% of gross electricity generation. Wind energy accounts for about 50% of this. Around one third of newly installed wind turbines in Europe went on-grid in Germany in 2018.
One reason for the crisis can be found in looking inwards: since 2017, the construction of wind power plants in Germany has no longer been subsidized. Instead, new projects are put out to tender in auction procedures. Due to inefficient production processes, German manufacturers are not in a position to withstand the cost pressure of foreign competition. Instead of investing in new technology and efficiency improvements at an early stage, German manufacturers have opted for cost reductions and thus fell behind. On the one hand, this increased price pressure on suppliers (see Ambau), and on the other hand, the lack of efficiency in production led to penalties due to delays in delivery.
Publication: The specifics of distressed M&A processes
In the general context of corporate and divisional transactions, distressed M&A processes are becoming increasingly important. It is of central interest for sellers and buyers to know which rules – also in terms of opportunities and risks – apply at the time of the transaction. Depending on the overall situation and future expectations, but as a rule always under high time pressure, a transaction can be executed both before and during insolvency.
In an analysis comparing classic M&A processes, our authors Dr. Bernhard Becker, Hendrik Leigers and Konrad Martin show to what extent the buyer's willingness to take risks and the seller's pressure situation are ultimately of decisive importance for the choice of the transaction date.
The article was published in KSI 02.2019 and can be downloaded here.
Short-distance co-operation – comes and Nordantech
comes starts co-operation with consulting tech company Nordantech
Nordantech has set itself the goal of facilitating the cooperation between management consultancies and clients in transformation projects. For this purpose, the young Hamburg-based company develops and distributes an intelligent project management software called Falcon. Falcon allows the coordination and management of complex projects through time-saving and clear features. The software impresses with minimal setup time and high intuitiveness. Falcon creates clear responsibilities and a simple overview of the overall project, goals and progress.
The short decision paths and agile working style make comes and Nordantech ideal partners. With their Hamburg branches, both companies are only a stone's throw away from each other across the Binnenalster. comes and Nordantech are looking forward to the upcoming projects: "From the first minute Falcon scored in our projects with speed in setup and user friendliness. When it comes to tracking measures and implementing change and turnaround projects, our customers confirm that with Falcon we have a product at hand that is ideally suited for decision-makers to achieve the desired success for the company," says René Labahn, Manager at comes. "Company transformation is not child's play. We appreciate the hands-on mentality and implementation strength of comes. Their years of experience in implementing measures coupled with our solution result in a powerful mix," adds Christian Kuhs, co-founder of Nordantech.
Together we will innovatively meet the challenges of medium-sized businesses and successfully accompany our clients through their transformation projects.
Company succession in Germany - an outlook until 2022
Every year, around 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in Germany are transferred to a successor. By the end of 2022, around 120,000 companies will have to undergo a generation change.
In about two thirds of these companies, family-owned or company-internal successors take over the business activities. For the remaining 30%, a suitable investor will be sought externally. The complexity and duration of this search is often underestimated, because a qualified and complete preparation of the company transition usually takes several years.
Digital transformation: Resilience as a new key resource
Survival under permanent pressure to change
In an ever more dynamic environment, the rules of classic corporate management are changing: classic planning is losing its foundation in the face of shorter planning horizons and the one-sided focus on process optimization along fixed development paths is changing from a recipe for success to a risk factor.
In contrast, the ability to react to unforeseen events and to shape permanent change becomes a new key resource. Under the term "resilience", this ability is often invoked, but rarely operationalized.
In their article, published in the Zeitschrift für Corporate Governance CGI 01.2019, comes employees Dr. Bernhard Becker and Jan Schoenmakers together with Silvia Braumandl put forward a proposal for such an operationalization for discussion on the basis of a systems theoretical model and apply it to the entrepreneurial context. The growing importance of intrapersonal resilience – to be understood as the resilience of the individual employee – is also discussed.
Please klick here for the full article.
comes congratulates Tribodyn AG on the Innovation Award
comes supports the acquisition of financing for new construction and corporate growth
Tribodyn AG in Northeim develops and produces the highly innovative, environmentally friendly leaf and soil fertilizer Lithovit. Using a special process, Lithovit is finely ground and thus tribodynamically activated. Lithovit increases the growth and stress resilience of the plants and is also suitable as a seed dressing. The products are 100% organic and certified according to Demeter and Naturland. For these achievements, Tribodyn AG was awarded the Innovation Prize 2018 of the District of Göttingen as well as the Entrepreneur Prize for Southern Lower Saxony 2018 of the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW).
After successfully entering the market, the still young company is already active in 100 countries and is pursuing ambitious growth plans. In 2018, a new company building with ultra-modern production and logistics facilities was erected in Northeim in order to unite all work steps under one roof in the future.
comes has supported Tribodyn AG with the acquisition and securing of equity and debt financing for investments in the new plant and further expansion.
comes accompanies three of the top 25 insolvency proceedings 2018 in Germany
In the past year, comes' team of advisors has again supported the companies and their lawyers in various standard insolvency and self-management proceedings. JUVE-Verlag has compiled a list of the largest insolvency proceedings for 2018. Of the 25 largest insolvencies, comes accompanied three, i.e. about one in eight:
- Max Moritz
- Unimet Group
- Car dealership Willy Tiedtke
In addition to liquidity planning in proceedings and comparative calculations for the insolvency plan, comes develops restructuring concepts and carries out M&A processes.
Please find further references to our self-management and standard insolvency proceedings here.
The JUVE list of the top 50 insolvencies can be found in issue 01/19 of the journal JUVE Rechtsmarkt.
comes is growing
The consultant, who is well versed in financing and restructuring issues, has been a member of our "Overcoming the Crisis" team since August 2018. At the Hamburg and Hanover offices, Mr. Körner supports our clients primarily in the areas of restructuring, distressed M&A and insolvency support.
Prior to working for comes, he advised medium-sized clients of various sizes and sectors at a major international bank and a big-four auditing and consulting firm.
After Mr. Leigers had already supported us during his university studies of Banking & Finance as an analyst/working student, he has now been working as a consultant in the Oldenburg team in the areas of distressed M&A and financing since December. He is also involved in digitisation issues with our joint venture partner Hase & Igel.
Prior to his studies, Mr. Leigers worked as a banker.
Since the beginning of this year, Mr. Labahn has been supporting our clients' operational turnaround at the Hamburg location, from invoice receipt to bank communication and strategy orientation. As a specialist for digital corporate management (consolidated financial statements, group planning and reporting), he is responsible for the expansion of the software-supported business area.
In previous positions, he worked as a manager in a consultancy and as a manager in controlling for a mechanical engineering group.
Allco Heimtierbedarf closes with a total quota of over 75%.
Allco Heimtierbedarf from Thedinghausen was able to pay out a total quota of 78.5 % to the simple insolvency creditors after the plan monitoring following the self-administration procedure.
At the end of 2016, the company had filed a petition for the opening of insolvency proceedings under its own administration and was able to win over the Czech pet food manufacturer VAFO Holding as an investor.
Allco was accompanied by a team of anchor lawyers led by Silvio Höfer and Florian Harig in its own administration and in drawing up the insolvency plan. Dr. Malte Köster, a specialist in insolvency law from the WILLMERKÖSTER law firm, was appointed as trustee. comes supported the investor process.
Successful comes M&A process for wind sportswear
Friedrich von Kaltenborn-Stachau (BRL Boege Rohde Luebbehuesen), as insolvency administrator of wind sportswear gmbh from Jesteburg, successfully sold the business operations to wind gmbh from Hamburg as of 01.01.2019. A large part of the jobs can be preserved.
The producer, wholesaler and retailer wind sportswear has been selling maritime fashion and accessories for almost 40 years. A strengthening of the brand in the North and Baltic Sea Coast region is planned for the future.
comes accompanied the takeover process on behalf of the insolvency administrator Friedrich von Kaltenborn-Stachau.
The detailed press release of BRL can be found here.
Transition: Digitization hits the wholesale trade – twice
The traditional business model of the wholesale sector is under considerable pressure in the face of digitalisation on two fronts at once:
On the one hand, on the market side, competition is increasing from new and established players who, after B2C business, are increasingly penetrating B2B business, as well as manufacturers seeking direct end customer contact. In addition, price transparency has increased significantly – also through online comparison platforms – which has further intensified pressure on margins. On the other hand, on the process side, many wholesalers have an investment backlog in their IT infrastructure along the value chain (purchasing, warehousing, order picking, sales). The result is an inadequate basis for decision-making for buyers and sellers and risks from warehousing (high inventories, old stocks). This also makes it more difficult to integrate e-commerce solutions for online sales.
These developments manifested themselves in numerous insolvencies of well-known wholesale companies in recent months (e.g. Testrut, Unimet, creatrade) in which we advised insolvency administrators.
Challenge digitization: IT risks in status reports
In its position paper on digitization, the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer (IDW) recently stated that many companies (still) lack the experience to transfer the changes associated with the digital transformation to their business models. In addition to technological risks, legal competences must also be focused on and possibly newly acquired in order to better assess the associated risks.
As announced in advance, Dr. Bernhard Becker of comes together with Michael Dilßner and Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller of the Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg examined the annual financial statements of medium-sized companies in order to find out how the opportunities and risks of digitization are listed. From the perspective of the accounting recipients, the results confirm that in many cases digitization has not yet arrived as a central challenge in corporate management.
The results of the analysis have been published in KSI 06.2018 and can be read in full here.
Extended liability risks in self-administration proceedings
If a GmbH (i.e. ltd.) files a petition for insolvency proceedings in its own administration, the management is no longer only liable according to the principles of company law, but to a greater extent like an insolvency administrator also in external relations – according to the relevant literature.
In the conventional regular insolvency proceedings, a strong insolvency administrator is given more extensive powers than the management due to a court order – which is accompanied by addional personal liability risks. In contrast, a procurator in self-administration proceedings merely assumes a control function and the management exercises the rights and duties of an insolvency administrator. The management's authority to act is thus extended and, according to the BGH ruling of April 2018, so is the liability basis. This serves to strengthen creditors' rights.
The management should therefore inform itself about the extended liability risks prior to filing the application and involve appropriately experienced lawyers – ideally by including a specialist lawyer for insolvency law who is experienced in self-administration proceedings.
Investment trap e-mobility
The imminent bans on older diesel vehicles in the city centres will further increase the pressure on all road users to act. For companies with their own vehicle fleets, the question now arises: "How do we have to equip ourselves for e-mobility"?
Now that renowned car manufacturers are also increasingly focusing on e-mobility, various truck manufacturers are currently also working on electrification of inner-city delivery traffic. The consequences – and above all the costs – that e-mobility entail are often underestimated: the acquisition costs of e-mobiles, charging infrastructure (pillars/chargers, mobile solutions, conversion of parking spaces, power supply, etc.) and electricity, a consumer good that should not be underestimated, must be taken into account when making an investment decision.
Big Data insights into the race for the CDU chairmanship
"All good things come in threes"? In the case of the promising candidates for the CDU presidency, only one can win. Does Big Data help us predict the outcome?
Our joint venture partner Hase & Igel has taken a close look at the "fever curve" of three important indicators: The scope and tenor of the press reports, the conversations and discussions in social media and the searches on Google for Merz, Spahn and Kramp-Karrenbauer. Who has the dynamics on their side? Where are the strengths and weaknesses?
The results are surprising - all information can be found here: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4
The importance of the interpersonal level in financial communication is often underestimated, especially in medium-sized companies
In the course of our projects, we are noticing more and more frequently that companies are not complying with supposedly easily achievable communication rules – such as adhering to agreed deadlines for the submission of reporting documents or proactive communication without any concrete reason for financing. Under certain circumstances, this can have serious consequences.
For example, although the formal information requirements on the part of banks are increasing, not least due to the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, the subjective assessment of the bank employee in charge plays a far greater role than many assume.
As part of ongoing projects, we are therefore increasingly sensitising our customers to the importance of the interpersonal level as well as the content level when communicating with stakeholders. Here in particular, major immediate successes can be achieved without incurring major costs.
Successful comes M&A process for the printing houses of the RIECK Group in Delmenhorst and Haldensleben
As insolvency administrator of Druckhaus RIECK Delmenhorst GmbH and Druckhaus RIECK Haldensleben GmbH, Dr. Malte Köster (WillmerKöster) has successfully sold the respective business operations. All employees keep their jobs.
The printing houses of the RIECK group operate web offset printing presses in coldset, which are used for newspapers and advertising supplements for example.
comes was commissioned by the insolvency administrator Dr. Malte Köster to manage the investor processes.
Report from the Weser Report can be read here.
comes launches joint venture for digital market development
In the course of the digital transformation, the rules in the market are changing: prosumer, multichannel, direct sales, platform economy, new influencers and an ever-increasing network density – it often seems as if companies have to be everywhere at the same time in order to remain successful. On the other hand, more and more players are no longer mapping the entire value chain, but are using virtualization and networks to skip stages and only occupy the decisive nodes. This puts previous favourites under pressure – and supposedly inferior ones have undreamt-of opportunities. How can you be successful under these new circumstances... and stay successful?
Since this topic is a major concern for our customers and increasingly determines the weal and woe of a company, we have launched a new company together with data and market expert Jan Rasmus Schoenmakers: HASE & IGEL is completely specialized in market development with the help of Big Data and intelligent processes.
The range of services goes beyond classic consulting: HASE & IGEL not only offers Big Data-based market, customer and competitive analyses and develops marketing, communication and sales strategies based on these – in line with its credo of "helping people to help themselves", the company also provides operational support for its customers in setting up corresponding processes, competencies and projects in-house.
Successful comes M&A process for the aviation supplier W. Ludolph GmbH & Co. KG in Bremerhaven
Dr. Per Hendrik Heerma (FRH Fink Rinckens Heerma), the insolvency attorney of W. Ludolph GmbH & Co. KG, has sold its business operations to the financial investor A2E Industries Limited, based in Manchester / UK, following successful operational restructuring. The company will now operate under the name Ludolph Bremerhaven GmbH. After the contracts for the sale of the company had already been concluded in June 2018, they could now be put into effect in September 2018.
Ludolph manufactures complex and high-precision milled parts for the aviation industry, medical technology and mechanical engineering in Bremerhaven and is one of the leading international specialists in the field of nautical instruments.
comes was commissioned by the insolvency administrator Dr. Per Hendrik Heerma to manage the investor process.
Report from Buten and Binnen: https://www.butenunbinnen.de/nachrichten/politik/ludolph-gerettet-100.html
Strategic alignment of ASTRO Motorengesellschaft
In recent years, we have supported the managing partner Thomas Graudenz, owner of the rapidly growing ASTRO Motorengesellschaft in Geestland near Bremerhaven, in the strategic orientation and alignment of market penetration. ASTRO manufactures synchronous motors with / without transmission used in a wide variety of applications, from simple actuators to the integration into complex control systems. In addition to the expansion of the modular standard program, we have particularly focused on customer-specific solutions. The use of explosion-proof motors (ATEX), which provide ASTRO with a unique selling point, is also becoming increasingly important. Thus, the company was able to grow in the double-digit percentage range this year.
In the course of the growth strategy, we have also optimized the internal processes in production and assembly and backed this up with suitable investments and a financing concept.
Successful comes M&A process for window and door manufacturer Baltic
As insolvency administrator of Baltic Fenster & Türen GmbH in Langenhorn, Peter-Alexander Borchardt (Reimer Rechtsanwälte) has successfully sold its business operations to the EGE Group. The 80 jobs in Schleswig Holstein were saved with the transferred restructuring at the beginning of August.
Baltic is known as a manufacturer of high-quality plastic windows and doors. The EGE Group strengthens its market position with the Baltic brand and its fourth production site in Germany.
comes was commissioned by the insolvency administrator Peter-Alexander Borchardt to manage the investors' process.
Co-operation with Bremen University
comes Unternehmensberatung has begun a co-operation with the International Graduate Center (part of the Bremen university): some members of staff have received a lectureship for an extra-occupational master's programme in the module "Business restructuring and insolvency".
Within the framework of this lectureship the students receive deeper insights into analysis and proceedings during restructuring and insolvency of companies. This will take place on different weekends in the winter semester 2018/19. To impart a broad spectrum of knowledge to the students, theoretical know-how is combined with practical examples.
We very much look forward to the co-operation with the university and the students!
Strategic focus on digitization
Almost every company will sooner or later be affected by the changes in the digital world. Tax consultants who no longer need accountants are affected, as are retailers whose goods can only be sold online or steel construction companies whose value chains are replaced by 3-D-printers.
On this topic, our colleague Dr. Bernhard Becker together with Prof. Dr. Mueller from the Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg has published the article "Strategic focus on digitization – chances and risks reflected in the annual report" in the industry special of the NWZ. Please click here for the complete article.
Fifth charity soccer tournament 2018 in Oldenburg
After having to pause for a year in 2017 due to very bad weather, the fifth soccer tournament of the Präventionsrat Oldenburg and the comes Unternehmensberatung took place on 25th August 2018. In the outdoor area of the University of Oldenburg six teams participated again to compete in the mobile soccer court. In the end, the LzO won the tournament.
The commitment of all participants has paid off again this year: 6,000 € were raised for the Präventionsrat's charity projects. Many thanks to the representatives of Sparkasse Emsland, Raiffeisenbank Oldenburg, Landessparkasse zu Oldenburg and to the two teams of Springer from Stuhr. And another thanks to the many helpers without whom such a tournament wouldn't be possible. We are looking forward to next year!
New framework for restructuring
New version of the IDW S 6 published
In August, the revised IDW S 6 "Requirements for Restructuring Concepts" was published (IDWLife 08/2018, p. 813-826). Compared to the previously valid IDW S 6 from 2012, the new standard has been significantly "streamlined" and supplemented with some clarifications. Due to urgent questions in practice, e.g. leads on the preparation of restructuring concepts with smaller enterprises were added. Although the IDW allows for the scale of the activity and the reporting to be adapted to the lower complexity of smaller companies, it still requires the handling of all core components of the standard for a complete restructuring concept, even for smaller companies. Only in this case it is ensured that the principles required by the highest court rulings are met.
In addition, the FAQ for the IDW S 6, which were published last year, have now been updated (see also IDWLife 08/2018, p. 826-847). This compilation deals with frequently asked questions from users about the practical application of the IDW S 6 and can therefore serve as an additional aid to interpretation.
We would be happy to exchange ideas with you - please contact our colleagues directly!
Digitization – status of annual reports 2017 – advance notice
The topic of digitization affects every company and, in addition to a lot of opportunities, also entails huge risks. Particularly if the company misses the signs and is overtaken by others.
Together with authors from Helmut Schmidt University, comes has dealt with the question of how chances and risks of digitization are incorporated in the annual report. This was based on 50 randomly selected financial statements of medium-sized companies effective Dec 31st, 2017 The evaluation result will be published in November in the journal KSI - we will keep you updated.
zero Mode – end of insolvency proceedings
Nach einer erfolgreichen zweijährigen Sanierung wurden die Insolvenzverfahren über die zero-Gruppe aufgehoben. Dank des großen Einsatzes der Insolvenzverwalter Tim Beyer (Schultze & Braun) und Dr. Malte Köster (WillmerKöster) und der neuen Eigentümer konnten alle 700 Arbeitsplätze des Bremer Modehauses erhalten bleiben.
Während des Verfahrens hat comes die Liquiditätsplanung und -steuerung sowie die langfristige Sanierungsplanung des DOB-Anbieters maßgeblich unterstützt und somit zum Turn-Around beigetragen. Möglich war die Sanierung in der Insolvenz dank des zukunftsträchtigen Geschäftsmodells, welches die ehemaligen Interimsmanager und jetzt neuen Eigentümer, Urs-Stefan Kinting und Victor Seuwen von Operations+ Consulting, bei Verfahrensbeginn vorfanden.
Das komplette comes-Team freut sich sehr über die erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit mit allen Beteiligten, die zu diesem hervorragenden Ergebnis führte!
A summer evening with comes Hamburg
Auch in diesem Jahr lud comes Hamburg zum regionalen Sommerabend.
In der Villa im Heinepark an der Elbchaussee wurde dieses Mal ein vorausgehender Sanierungsnachmittag angeboten: Interessierte Banker nahmen an einer Vortragsreihe rund um Sanierungsaspekte teil. Dabei reichten die brandaktuellen Themen von Ferndiagnosen in Zeiten von Big Data über zwei Praxisbeispiele für erfolgreiche Sanierungen in der Insolvenz (zero Mode, vorgetragen von Dr. Malte Köster und Urs-Stefan Kinting, sowie Paracelsus-Kliniken, vorgetragen von Dr. Rainer Eckert und Andreas Ziegenhagen) bis hin zu einer Diskussion zum unechten Sanierungskredit (vorgetragen von Torsten Cülter und Nils Krause).
Im Anschluss empfingen wir unsere Gäste zum Sommerabend im großen Rahmen. Highlight war der Impulsvortrag zum Thema "eCommerce & Beauty: Chancen und Herausforderungen für einen Konsumgüterhersteller" von Sigmar Werz, Corporate Director Global eCommerce bei der Beiersdorf AG, welcher die Gäste zu angeregten Diskussionen inspirierte. Strahlender Sonnenschein, ein köstliches Barbecue und tolle musikalische Begleitung taten ihr Übriges, um den Sommerabend zu einer rundum gelungenen Veranstaltung zu machen.
Wir danken allen unseren Gästen für einen großartigen Abend und freuen uns auf eine Fortsetzung im nächsten Jahr!
Particular significance of creditor relations
Unter Creditor Relations sind die kontinuierliche beidseitige Kommunikation und der Austausch von Informationen, die für das Verständnis der wirtschaftlichen Situation eines Unternehmens erforderlich sind, zu verstehen. Dies ist in Zeiten von steigenden regulatorischen Anforderungen an Banken und Unternehmen und dem damit einhergehenden Erfordernis eines formalisierten, standardisierten Reportings umso wichtiger und gilt insbesondere, wenn es um den Ausbau der Geschäftsbeziehungen geht.
Zu diesem Thema haben die comes-Mitarbeiter Dr. Bernhard Becker und Jan Handzlik gemeinsam mit Felix Knoll und Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller den Artikel "Zur besonderen Bedeutung der Creditor Relations bei auszuweitender bzw. komplizierterer Fremdfinanzierung" verfasst, der in der KSI 03.18 erschienen ist. Die Autoren nehmen eine Einordnung im Rahmen der allgemeinen Unternehmenskommunikation vor und zeigen einen Praxisfall auf.
Den vollständigen Artikel können Sie hier lesen.
Top consultants 2018
For the third consecutive time comes Unternehmensberatung was voted amongst the top consultants.
Again this year, business magazine „brand eins“ together with Statista's market researchers awarded the "Top Consultants" seal. For various industries and business areas the best consulting companies were determined.
More than 3.000 consulting experts were surveyed: 1.743 consultants were asked for a peer recommendation, ca. 1.600 managers, 248 of these from DAX-, M-DAX- and S-DAX-companies, gave a client assessment.
This year, comes Unternehmensberatung again made it onto the list of top consulting companies in the “restructuring” segment and was awarded the “Top Consultants 2018” seal.
Know-how workshop "Digitization"
Ein Austausch über Digitalisierungsprojekte
Am 14.03.2018 haben wir zusammen mit der PwC die Know-how-Werkstatt „Digitalisierung“ in der Union Brauerei in Bremen abgehalten. Rund 50 Geschäftsführer und Bereichsleiter aus dem nordwestdeutschen Mittelstand diskutierten, wie mittelständische Unternehmen die Digitalisierung praktisch meistern können und welche Erfahrungen sie bisher damit gesammelt haben.
Die geladenen Experten gaben Einblicke in praktische Anwendungen und Fragestellungen: z.B. wurde die Intelligentmachung von Gabelstaplern im Linde Konzern sehr anschaulich erläutert, der Strategieprozess der Münchener Verkehrsbetriebe im Zuge der Transformation vom klassischen zum digitalen Mobilitätsanbieter (auch mithilfe unseres Relevanz- und Reifechecks) erklärt sowie Methoden zur Abbildung eines digitalen Fußabdrucks gezeigt. Als Überraschung am Abend berichtete noch Sven Külper, Gründer des Startups MyTaxi aus 2008, über die Stolper- und Meilensteine seiner entwickelten App bis hin zum Übergang auf Daimler Chrysler.
Die kurzen Impulse aus der Praxis regten die anschließende Podiumsdiskussion und den locker-vertraulichen Austausch untereinander bis nach 22 Uhr an. Im Zentrum standen dabei die Fragen, wie Daten intelligent und pragmatisch genutzt werden können, um schneller zu werden und Mehrwert zu schaffen – und wie man auf die teils radikale Verkürzung und Neuordnung von Wertschöpfungsketten reagieren kann.
Am Bedarf ließ nicht nur die rege Teilnahme keinen Zweifel: unsere Studie im Teilnehmerkreis zeigt, dass die Mehrheit der Entscheider zwar ein recht gutes Bild der Chancen und Risiken der Digitalisierung für ihr Unternehmen hat, jedoch deutliche Defizite bei der Umsetzung der Erkenntnis in konkretes Handeln sieht. Besonders groß sind die Lücken in den Bereichen Marketing & Vertrieb, der Steuerung mit Daten und der digitalen Aufwertung des eigenen Leistungsangebots.
Dialogue with investors is crucial
Important foundation for trust-based economical relationships and business success
Communication is the only connecting activity between partners. This is true not only for interpersonal relationships but also in the world of economics. Truth, clarity and candour are the words that create trust and allow common options for actions in the future. The importance of financial communication with investors for the business success cannot not be underestimated.
On this topic our comes colleagues Dr. Bernhard Becker and Jan Handzlik together with Prof. Dr. Müller from the Helmut-Schmidt-University in Hamburg have published an article in the "branches" special edition of the NWZ. The complete article can be read here.
Digitization - definition and readiness
Another addition to our team
Since the beginning of this year Prof. Dr. Stefan Razik is a part of our team.
From our location in Hanover he is supporting our clients in the areas strategy/leadership, efficiency and restructuring. Prof. Dr. Razik will also help advance our "health" business sector.
Next to his ongoing function as a professor for health management at the FOM University for Economy & Management, he had been working for another consulting company before and was also a free-lancing consultant.
Is the aspect of digitization considered in the revised version of the IDW S 6?
In the last article in the journal "Deutsches Steuerrecht" (German Tax Law) our authors have already voiced their opinion on the revisions of the IDW S 6. To add to this topic, our comes colleagues Dr. Bernhard Becker and Jan Schoenmakers, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller, have published the article „Current developments of the IDW S 6 restructuring rules" (published in KSI 01/2018) in which they have asked themselves if the chances and risks of digitization have been considered sufficiently. The authors conclude that in fact no evaluation of sustainability is possible today without evaluating the internal and external digital environment at the same time. This should be considered in the evaluation standard. Derivation and substantiation can be read here in the complete article.
Fund-raising campaign for the Präventionsrat Oldenburg
In August the annual charity soccer tournament organised by comes in Oldenburg had to be cancelled due to weather conditions. However, the would-be participants insisted on giving a donation to the Präventionsrat anyway: On November 22nd, Bernd Becker and Peter Böttger (comes), Michael Tietjen (Nord/LB) and Thomas Rottinghaus (OLB) presented a cheque for 4000 Euros to Nicole Wilke from the Präventionsrat. Uwe Springer from the Springer GmbH, which also contributed to the donated sum, regrettably could not take part in the presentation.
We thank the generous donators.
Revised version of the IDW standard on the requirements for restructuring concepts
When preparing restructuring concepts, it is generally requested to use the standard IDW S 6 which was published by the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer (IDW, Institute of Public Accountants) in 2012. A restructuring concept in accordance with the IDW S 6 fulfills minimum criteria which on the one hand secure the quality and on the other hand provide legal certainty.
During the implementation of restructuring concepts however, different questions and problems have arisen which the standard does not or does only partly provides answers for. Consequently in 2016 the IDW has devised a Q&A paper to try and answer the most pressing open questions regarding the implementation in practice. Amongst other topics the requirements for restructuring concepts concerning small, less complex companies were put in concrete terms.
In September 2017 the IDW has also revised the IDW S 6 and downsized it notably in the process. The economic explications are not contained in the revised edition anymore but will be taken up as part of the Q&A in the future.
Our colleagues Dr. Bernhard Becker, Bernhard Bieckmann and Stefan Wechsung together with Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller have published an experts' opinion on the Q&A and the revised edition of the IDW S 6 in DStR 46/2017. Their special focus is directed towards the open questions from a practice oriented point of view.
The authors of the paper generally welcome the specifications and editorial modifications of the IDW S 6. However, they do not expect restructuring concepts to become less extensive or less expensive for small companies, because these also have to employ the basic components required by the S6. The explanations regarding the term "capital yields typical of certain business areas" as well as the possibilities of corporation restructuring the authors describe as positive, even though not all questions regarding practical implementation have been answered as of yet.
In the eyes of the authors the revised edition of the standard is lacking an explicit look into the chances and risks created by new (mega-)trends which is viewed critically. For many companies business models which have been stable for decades will change dramatically due to the influence of digitization, the industrial internet of things, and artificial intelligence. The question which consequences can be expected for the companies and the assessment of restructuring chances within the framework of a restructuring concept in accordance with the IDW S6 remains unanswered (so far).
The complete article was published under the title of „Konkretisierung der Anforderungen an ein Sanierungskonzept nach IDW S6“ in DStR, issue 46/2017, November 17th, 2017.
New additions to our team
From our Hamburg office he supports our clients in the sectors strategy, digitization and marketing/sales. Lothar Sommer will help to further expedite the business field "success". Before he joined comes he had been responsible for the transformation of business processes and sales channels in several consulting companies.
The experienced restructuring and insolvency consultant from Hamburg is part of our continually growing business field "crisis". As a specialist for financial and insolvency topics, amongst others with a big-four auditing company, Stefan Wechsung has accompanied numerous firms during restructuring and reorientation.
As an expert for digitization, online-marketing and social media he supports our clients from our Oldenburg office with the planning and the implementation of sustainable marketing and sales strategies as well as the opportunities offered by Big Data. Jan Schoenmakers had been communications manager with EWE and the founder of an e-commerce start-up before joining comes.
Summer evening with comes Hamburg at the Kai 10
On June 12th comes opened its doors for a regional summer evening on the Kai 10 in Hamburg. There were plenty of reasons for this event: comes has taken up Digitization in its consulting portfolio, shows its structural repositioning with a brand relaunch and was voted again amongst the top consultants in 2017.
A speech by Henrik Falk, chairman of the board at Hamburger Hochbahn AG, on the topic of "Digitization in regional public transport" inspired our guests to animated conversation. With musical accompaniment and fine beverages the evening found a relaxed conclusion.
We thank all our guests for a wonderful summer evening!
Interview with Prof. Dr. Thomas Wolf
During this year's 15th Health Forum organised by the Bayerische Gesundheitsmangement GmbH in Munich the main topics were the preservation and optimization of our health care system.
One focus was put on the issue of digitization in health care. As an expert in this area our colleague Prof. Dr. Wolf was invited as a lecturer. Additionally an interview with him was conducted which you can watch in its entirety using the link on the right.
Top consultants in 2017
Once again, comes Unternehmensberatung was named one of the top management consulting companies.
Together with the market researchers from Statista, business magazine “brand eins” awarded the “Top Consultants” seals for the best consulting companies in different industries and areas.
6,962 partners and principals were invited to take part in the survey (peer recommendations) as a basis for the 2017 rankings. In the ensuing step, 1,350 managers were asked for their assessment (client assessment).
This year, comes Unternehmensberatung again made it onto the list of top consulting companies in the “restructuring” segment and was awarded the “Top Consultant 2017” seal.
We are very pleased!
AEG Power Solutions - creditor protection shield procedure lifted
The insolvency plan that had been drawn up by Dentons with the support of comes was unanimously accepted by the assembly of creditors. As a result, the insolvency proceedings have now been suspended, allowing the restructuring activities to be continued together with a shareholder change within the 3 W Power Group.
Generous donations were received from the numerous guests attending the celebrations marking the 15th anniversary of comes Unternehmensberatung, during which a performance of the Marilyn Monroe Review was held in the state theater. We are very proud to be able to hand over a check for 2,230 euros to the two charities Präventionsrat Oldenburg and Elterninitiative krebskranker Kinder.
Monroe gala for anniversary celebrations
120 guests joined comes Unternehmensberatung at the Oldenburg State Theater to celebrate its 15th anniversary. The audience loved Kiki Beyer’s review of the life of Marilyn Monroe, who would have turned 90 this year.
Top consultants in 2016
comes Unternehmensberatung was named one of the top management consulting companies for 2016.
Together with the market researchers from Statista, business magazine “brand eins” awarded the “Top Consultants” seals again this year. The best consultants operating in a total of 31 industries and segments were selected from a total of more than 15,000 companies from all over Germany.
This is the most extensive survey of its type in Germany.
The main input for the study came from client satisfaction evaluations (around 1,500 managers from large, medium and small companies) and a survey of 5,776 partners and project managers at large consulting companies.
We were thrilled to learn that comes Unternehmensberatung had been included in the list of top consulting companies in the “restructuring” segment in 2016 and was therefore awarded the “Top Consultant 2016” seal. The fact that this award is based on assessments made by our customers fills us with particular pride!
Fourth Oldenburg charity soccer tournament 2016
In August, the annual charity soccer tournament organized by Präventionsrat Oldenburg and comes Unternehmensberatung encouraged numerous participants to join in and donate. As a result of the efforts of all those who took part, donations of 6,000 euros were raised for Präventionsrat this year. Many thanks to everyone involved!
Third Oldenburg charity soccer tournament 2015
The tradition lives on: once again Präventionsrat Oldenburg organized a soccer tournament in conjunction with comes Unternehmensberatung, collecting donations of 4,150 euros in the process. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who contributed to this success either with their sporting efforts or with generous donations.
First Bremen night of hospitals
Hospitals in Northern Germany are currently navigating heavy seas and facing numerous challenges. The future viability of many clinics will depend on the extent to which they are able to establish solid capital structures, to optimize costs and processes and to simultaneously keep patients and employees happy.
At the first Bremen night of hospitals we showed managers, medical directors and commercial directors possible solutions for addressing the challenges currently facing the German hospital sector.
Second Oldenburg charity soccer tournament 2014
Präventionsrat Oldenburg organized a soccer tournament in conjunction with comes Unternehmensberatung for the second time, raising donations of 6,000 euros for the advisory agency Wildwasser Oldenburg. We are very pleased!
Berlin Half Marathon 2014
Amongst the many entrants in the Berlin Half Marathon 2014 were also runners from comes Unternehmensberatung. With the weather warm and sunny, our participants were in high spirits, reaching the finish line with pride.
First Oldenburg charity soccer tournament 2013
Präventionsrat Oldenburg organized a charity soccer tournament for Bewegungsinitiative Oldenburg e.V. with the support of comes Unternehmensberatung. Thanks to the efforts of all the participants, it was possible to hand over a check for 6,000 euros.
First Bremen night of hospitals
Article in Weser Kurier 5/2015
When the consultant enters the company
Article from Handelsblatt of November 9, 2009