BANGKOK, THAILAND / BERLIN, GERMANY – EQS Newswire – 8 October 2019 – The anchor shareholder of elumeo SE, Ottoman Strategy Holdings (Suisse) S.A., sees the recent actions of the management of the Berlin jewelry retailer as the cause for the deep crash of the shares. The market had clearly reacted to the incomprehensible public statements of Executive Director Bernd Fischer. Last Friday, the elumeo SE share plummeted to a historic low of up to 0.63 euros per share.
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 in Thailand and the loss of over 600 jobs, Bernd Fischer, Wolfgang Boyé and Thomas Jarmuske are being investigated in Thailand. Elumeo SE also has to deal with multi-million lawsuits. 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.
Executive Director Bernd Fischer explained on behalf of his company and management that their actions were basically not the cause of the decline of the Thai jewellery manufacturer PWK Jewellery Company. He also stated that PWK’s managing directors, who are facing long prison sentences due to elumeo’s actions, were themselves responsible for this. Fischer had also publicly proclaimed that the suspension of the investigations of the Berlin public prosecutor’s office had now exhonated the leading trio Wolfgang Boyé, Thomas Jarmuske and Bernd Fischer, who were being investigated for fraud and breach of trust. In fact, the decision of the public prosecutor’s office in Berlin, which was apparently based on highly distorted information, is not legally binding. The complainants filed a complaint against the decision of the prosecutor’s office.
The assertion that the PWK directors themselves were responsible for their prison sentences threatening them led to great surprise among those familiar with Thai labour law. In fact, this statement was entirely negated by the Thai Criminal Court, as on September 30, 2019, by an Indictment Order on the Case Black Case No. Aor 1548/62, the Chanthaburi Provincial Prosecutor, considered this to “be an offense against the law and the following sections: Labour Protection Act BE 2541 Section 5, 17/1, 30, 56, 70, 118, 124, 144, 146, 151, 158 Labour Protection Act (Issue 2) BE 2551”.
The Directors of PWK Jewelry Limited, merely employees of the company, after being requested by elumeo Board Resolution to personally guarantee all company loans to Thai Bank Siam Commercial Bank. In fact, Bernd Fischer, made sure, in his Report to the Board, that there will be no exposure for elumeo, clearly naming as Security for the loan “individual guarantees by Directors of PWK. There is no further involvement or exposure like personal guarantees or comfort letters of any other company of the elumeo Group as well as no security in any other assets of PWK (i.e. stock, finished goods)”
During the Annual General Meeting on August 7th, 2019, elumeo’s management explained the rapidly deteriorating financial situation of elumeo to its shareholders and referred to the management’s efforts to have to repay an explosive multi-million loan from Sparkasse Berlin despite poor sales. As it became known from within the company, Bernd Fischer apparently had the task of developing a “cash flow scenario” that would make it possible to repay the threatening loan, regardless of the sacrifices required.
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.
Ottoman Strategy Holdings (Suisse) S.A. stated: “It is not surprising that the markets are not responding positively to the attempts of elumeo’s management to legitimize their questionable actions. The company lost more than 95% of its share price, was on the verge of bankruptcy and had problems repaying its bank loans and its suppliers. It is sued for tens of millions of euros and its management is under criminal investigation (continued investigation by the Thai police). Elumeo has lost its flagship factory with PWK, more than 600 people are now unemployed and have been deprived of legal compensation. The architect of this misery, Bernd Fischer, and the chairman of the board, Boyé, are supported by the representative of Frankfurt Performance Management (FPM), Raik Hoffmann”. The Ottoman Strategy Holdings also points to the fact that both elumeo’s management and FPM had prevented the appointment of a special auditor at previous general meetings to investigate management’s business in recent years.
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