elumeo SE: Jewellery retailer faced insolvency / Berliner Sparkasse refused to extend Multimillion Loan / Growing scepticism among elumeos suppliers / Shareholder demands special auditor

October 10, 2019 - 02:16
elumeo SE: Jewellery retailer faced insolvency / Berliner Sparkasse refused to extend Multimillion Loan / Growing scepticism among elumeos suppliers / Shareholder demands special auditor

BANGKOK, THAILAND / BERLIN, GERMANY - EQS Newswire - 10 October 2019 - Inview of the latest revelations on the financial situation of the German jewelrytrading group elumeo SE, anchor shareholder Ottoman Strategic Holdings (Suisse)S.A. is once again strengthening its demand for a special auditor toinvestigate the actual economic situation and management decisions under thechairmanship of Board Chairman Wolfgang Boyé. According to the latest internalcompany information, elumeo SE was on the verge of insolvency shortly after themain lender Berliner Sparkasse refused to extend a loan worth millions. In themeantime, the sceptical voices of suppliers in India, who no longer regardelumeo as a reliable trading partner, are also increasing.

After questionable decisions of the managers Wolfgang Boyé, Thomas Jarmuske and Bernd Fischer, the company is in free fall and pulls the subsidiaries along. According to a decision of the Thai Labour Court of 12 September 2019, former PWK employees who have received neither salary nor statutory severance pay can now dispose of the company's property (file no. Ror 757/2662). The employees can now immediately enter the premises of PWK, identify all assets and offer them for sale to compensate for their unpaid salaries and severance payments.

In connection with the financial decline of PWK Jewellery Company inThailand and the loss of over 600 jobs, Bernd Fischer, Wolfgang Boyé and ThomasJarmuske are being investigated in Thailand. The public prosecutor's office inBerlin also investigated the three managers, but closed the investigation. Atpresent, the General Prosecutor's Office is investigating whether theinvestigations should be resumed. Elumeo SE also has to deal with amulti-million lawsuit. In the complaint, the elumeo managers are accused ofhaving ordered jewellery worth over 30 million euros from the jewellerymanufacturer PWK, a subsidiary of the company elumeo, and of having paid only asmall fraction of this amount, which eventually led to the illiquidity of PWK.

In the meantime, elumeo has also massively lost credibility among its suppliersof jewellery and precious stones in Jaipur (India). After elumeo SE had drivenits jewellery manufacturing subsidiary PWK Jewellery Company into the wall inThailand, the Berlin jewellery retailer now procured jewellery and preciousstones from third parties, including companies in Jaipur (India). There,however, scepticism about eluemo SE as a reliable and liquid trading partner isgrowing in view of the latest developments and relevations. The stumbling CEOof elumeo, Ingo Stober, felt this scepticism massively at the last Hong KongJewellery & Gem Fair.

In the summer of 2018, the liquidity situation of both Elumeo SE and theThai PWK deteriorated. Sales figures collapsed. The eleumeo Mangament was notable to sell nearly as many pieces of jewelry via TV and the Internet aspredicted. To the surprise of the elumeo management, the bank did not extend amillion loan granted by Berliner Sparkasse to Elumeo SE. The company was thusfaced with a delay.

In view of the massively falling sales of elumeo SE, which sells far lessjewellery through distribution channels such as Juwelo TV than previouslyannounced, the jewellery manufacturing subsidiary PWK Jewellery proved to be aburden for the group, which now wanted to get rid of it together with theworkers. However, this did not prove to be that easy, as under Thai labour lawevery dismissed employee is entitled to a statutory severance payment. In viewof the financially disastrous situation and the threat of bankruptcy, elumeowanted to avoid these severance payments for over 600 employees. In fact, BerndFischer directly instructed the PWK directors to "try to determine howmuch personnel/costs could be reduced without severance pay". Thedirectors informed Fischer that this was illegal in Thailand. Among theemployees 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 highdebts 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 - anothersubsidiary of Elumeo SE) on 6 September 2018 served this purpose, with theresult that all claims of PWK passed on to Juwelo (or Elumeo SE) via Silverlineno longer needed to be serviced under group law for an indefinite period oftime.

Despite the subordination agreement, which meant that not only all oldreceivables, but also newly arising receivables of PWK against the companies ofthe Elumeo Group no longer needed to be serviced for an indefinite period oftime, on 17 September 2018 the member of the Board of Directors Jarmuskeordered another jewelry delivery from PWK for the Juwelo, which was delivered fromThailand to Berlin on 24 September 2018 and invoiced at 347,408.78 euros. Thejewellery delivery was received by the Juwelo, but was not paid for as aresult.

Attorney Dr. Gerhard Strate: "It is obvious that this is a fraud to thedetriment of PWK. It is indisputable that this invoice has not been paid to PWKto this day. The public prosecutor's office in Berlin does not claim thecontrary either.

Ottoman Strategy Holdings points out that both elumeo's management andShareholder Frankfurt Performance Management FPM under Raik Hoffmann hadprevented the appointment of a special auditor at previous general meetings toinvestigate management's business.

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.