The insolvent women’s shoe manufacturer Peter Kaiser is being partially taken over. The managing director, Stefan Frank, and the investors Hans-Joachim and Gisela Sander, from the founding family of the Darmstadt-based hair care giant Wella Group, have agreed to buy the brand and other assets of Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik GmbH and Peter Kaiser Retail GmbH. 

The sale was approved by the creditors’ committee and the trustee of Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik GmbH, while approval is still pending for the retail subsidiary. 

In addition to the Peter Kaiser brand, the investors will take over the shoe inventory and the property on Lemberger Straße in Pirmasens, in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate region. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction. 

The company now prepares for a new start with a leaner structure. But, according to the regional public broadcasting corporation Südwestrundfunk (SWR) it is still unclear where production will be based.

Although the investors plan to continue producing pattern designs and prototypes in-house, Peter Kaiser’s own manufacturing site in Germany will be shut down. However, six stores and the online shop will continue to be in operation. How many of the 200 employees at the Pirmasens site will be kept or rehired has yet to be decided, the investors said. 

Peter Kaiser Schuhfabrik was already in difficulties before the coronavirus crisis, and the pandemic made things even worse, with sales falling by nearly 40 percent last year.

The company 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. At the end of January, the majority of the approximately 200 employees at the Pirmasens site were made redundant.

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

According to the company, the search for investors was challenging and lasted several months. 

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.