The ailing women’s shoe manufacturer Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik could be close to at least a partial rescue by the hands of a financially sound investor. 

The German company’s general representative Martin Mucha, from the law firm Grub Brugger, and trustee Günter Staab, from Staab & Kollegen, said that sales negotiations were underway, confirming reports by local media. 

According to the Pirmasenser Zeitung, a local newspaper for the Pirmasens area in the Rhineland-Palatinate region, where Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik is based, Gisela and Hans-Joachim Sander, from the founding family of Darmstadt-based hair care giant Wella Group, plan to invest €7.5 million euros in the struggling company. 

In a joint statement, without providing further detail, Mucha and Staab said they are in exclusive talks with an investor about the acquisition of individual assets from insolvent Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik GmbH and Peter Kaiser Retail GmbH. They added that negotiations are well advanced and an outcome is expected shortly. According to media reports, the new investor could be present at the creditors’ meeting of Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik GmbH in Pirmasens on Feb. 24. 

Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik, which was already in difficulties before the coronavirus crisis, went into insolvency on Dec. 1, after filing an application with the Pirmasens district court on Sept. 14. As the insolvency proceedings were opened, self-administration was ordered and talks with several potential investors started. 

Earlier this year, things unravelled, also due to the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the end of January the majority of the approximately 200 employees at the Pirmasens site were given notice. The plant is threatened with closure by the end of April. 

On January 21, insolvency proceedings were filed for Peter Kaiser Retail GmbH, that oversees footwear distribution in physical stores and online, as well as the shoe factory in Felgueiras. 

According to regional newspaper Die Rheinpfalz, however, the prospective investors are not interested in continuing shoe production in Pirmasens - leaving little hope for Peter Kaiser’s 200 employees of keeping their jobs - but only in the trademark rights, the shoe inventory and the property on Lemberger Straße in Pirmasens. The acquisition of some of the remaining twelve stores is also being discussed. 

Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik, the oldest shoe factory in Germany, was established in 1838. It employs around 650 people, 200 of which in Pirmasens. Around half of the 750,000 pairs of shoes produced annually are exported. In 2019, revenues totaled €40 million but fell by 40 percent last year.