Big news from Germany this week – the Nurburgring was finally sold to a private company. But it wasn’t the one we were expecting. Here’s the executive summary:
• The Nurburgring sold to capricorn GROUP –
• Operative business to be continued with racing, events and hotel operations –
• Nürburgring to be developed and expanded into an Automotive Technology Cluster –
• Bid persuaded the creditors’ committee – capricorn acquires assets and business operations on 1 January 2015 – Concept considers interests of the region –
• Transaction volume in excess of EUR 100m – Up to EUR 25m to be invested in further development of the Nürburgring –
Nuremburg/Koblenz, 11.03.2014. Following intensive and constructive negotiations, the race for the Nürburgring has been decided: Prof. Dr. Thomas B. Schmidt, the managing director in charge of the restructuring process, and the insolvency monitor, Jens Lieser, have now sold all assets of the historic Nürburgring after a Europe-wide investor process lasting many months. They have been acquired by the newly established capricorn NÜRBURGRING GmbH, whose managing directors are Dr. Robertino Wild and Adam Osieka. The capricorn GROUP to which the new buyer belongs is a medium-sized business that has its roots in motor sport and provides products and services for the automotive and aviation sectors through the development of innovative materials and technologies at several sites across Europe.
The buyer will take over and continue to run the business operations of the Nürburgring, with its numerous motor races, music events, tourist and test drives as well as the hotels and holiday facilities. The business strategy of the bidder is that the capricorn GROUP will develop and expand the Nürburgring into an Automotive Technology Cluster. This new approach goes well beyond pure motor sport and offers the prospect of further jobs in the region.
The company opened a production plant in the immediate vicinity of the Nürburgring as long ago as 2002, since when it has been continually expanded. This success is now to stimulate the further expansion of the Nürburgring and create high-quality jobs in the region through the formation of networks with universities and colleges and leading companies in the automotive sector. “We had two excellent offers that were presented to the creditors’ committee. Finally they opted for the offer that delivered the highest purchase price and good prospects for the region”, said insolvency monitor Jens Lieser, explaining the decision and consent of the creditors’ committee for the bidder capricorn NÜRBURGRING GmbH.
The transaction volume is in excess of EUR 100m, of which EUR 25m is earmarked for investment in the expansion of the Nürburgring and its periphery as well as the creation of a new Automotive Technology Cluster. “Some 20 months after the insolvency application, the time of uncertainty for the Nürburgring, motor sport fans, the automotive industry, event organisers, employees and the region is over. We can now look ahead because we have clarity and a real perspective”, said Dr. Schmidt, who as managing director is in charge of the restructuring.
The buyer will take over the assets of Nürburgring GmbH on 1 January 2015, which means that Nürburgring Betriebsgesellschaft mbH will continue to run business operations in the current 2014 season. It has a right of withdrawal in the event that the European Commission takes legal action against it for possible recovery of state aid. The restructuring experts are confident that the European Commission will confirm that the investor process was carried out properly and that the buyer will not therefore be liable to repay any state aid.
“As an enthusiastic motor sport fan, the Nürburgring has always been a passion of mine. We have identified the enormous potential of this unique race venue and would like to optimise the existing structures, but above all turn the vision of an Automotive Technology Cluster into reality”, said Dr. Robertino Wild, managing partner of the capricorn GROUP. This concept gives the region lasting prospects for the future and offers people the chance of high-quality jobs. “Responsibility for local people and safeguarding the interests of the region are key to sustainable success. They are the foundation for the new economic prospects of the Nürburgring. If the Nürburgring does well, then the people in the region also do well”, said Adam Osieka as managing director. The existing contacts with universities and colleges and leading businesses in the car and automotive sectors are to be successively exploited for the expansion of the technology centre.
To achieve its goals, the buyer will need to make significant structural changes to the Nürburgring. Among these are the plans for the ring°racer to be shut down, while the Eifeldorf ‘Grüne Hölle’ will be replaced by the proposed Automotive Technology Cluster. Alongside an essential revamp of organisational structures, the ring°card is also to be dispensed with.
Meanwhile, the 2014 season promises to be a complete success for the Nürburgring. All events will be held as planned. The race calendar for this year is already fully booked and a whole raft of highly attractive public events will take place.
About Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. phil. Thomas B. Schmidt
Attorney Thomas B. Schmidt is a specialist in labour and insolvency law and a partner of the Trier-based law firm König Rechtsanwälte, one of the leading commercial law practices in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Prof. Schmidt has been an insolvency administrator since 1997 and is a recognised expert in insolvency plan proceedings and reorganisations. He also specialises in human resources restructuring. He is an honorary professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Trier, where he has lectured in commercial and insolvency law since 2002. More information can be found at: www.thomasbschmidt.de
About Jens Lieser Attorney and insolvency administrator Jens Lieser is a partner of highly regarded pan-regional law firm LIESER Rechtsanwälte. Jens Lieser, who is also a specialist in insolvency law, has made a name for himself since 1994 with the restructuring and continuation of many businesses as going concerns and in preserving jobs. As a law firm, LIESER has been one of the leading insolvency specialists in Germany for almost 50 years. In addition to its headquarters in Koblenz, it also has offices in Trier and Mainz, among other places. LIESER has demonstrated its experience and expertise in more than 3,000 insolvency proceedings involving companies of a range of sizes and industries. More information can be found at: www.lieser-rechtsanwaelte.de
About the capricorn GROUP and Dr. Robertino Wild The capricorn GROUP, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, is an international group of companies focused on innovative fields of activity in the automotive, technology and property development sectors. It is owned by Dr. Robertino Wild, who has himself been committed to the Nürburgring through his group for more than 15 years and traces his roots back to the Eifel region. He has a passion for both art and motor sport. His fascination for technology and motor
racing brought him success in traditional motor sport series, including as winner of the Ferrari Challenge 2000. He grew up in Italy and Düsseldorf, later studying in Aachen. More information can be found at: www.capricorngroup.net
About GetSpeed GmbH & Co KG and Adam Osieka GetSpeed is a Nürburgring-based motorsports company and an investor in the newly established capricorn NÜRBURGRING GmbH. GetSpeed’s activities include workshop services, tuning, coaching and support for race events. GetSpeed also runs innovative projects in conjunction with leading knowledge centres and industry partners in the field of biomedical technology (stress level monitoring). Adam Osieka is the managing partner of GetSpeed and also an enthusiastic racing driver on the Nordschleife. Together with capricorn, GetSpeed sees a very promising future for the Nürburgring that is to be shaped in close consultation with the region. With capricorn, GetSpeed shares both very close proximity in the Meuspath industrial park as well as a passion for motor sport at the Nürburgring. More information can be found at: www.getspeed.de