WORLD EXCLUSIVE: XAL snaps up Wever & Ducré assets

Austrian luminaire and lighting systems maker XAL has become the new owner of most of the assets of troubled architectural luminaire manufacturer Wever & Ducré, ending nearly six months in protective administration for the Belgian company

The assets of sister business Dark has been acquired by former owner Marnick Smessaert at the same time. Both deals were announced on 25 October by the administrators on behalf of the Belgian commercial courts. It’s believed that the total sum involved is £2.47 million.

The architectural fittings companies went into protective administration in June after they could no longer pay its suppliers.

Since then distributors have complained of extensive delivery problems and some resigned the account. The company operates in some 60 countries but is believed to have run into difficulties in some markets, especially Spain and Italy, with local media reports in Belgium suggesting that debts had reached about £43 million.

Fernand Vermeulen, commercial director of 2bdelighted, said that the problems began in June when the board of shareholders decided to sell the shares of 2bdelighted.

At the same time owner KBC Private Equity decided also to go into WCO (the Belgian term for Chapter 11), while at the same time it closed down the company’s accounts, which meant it could no longer pay its suppliers.

XAL has purchased the intellectual property rights for Wever & Ducré but did not bid on stock or machinery.

Vermeulen said that most of the jobs would be protected at Dark but that he and the rest of the staff were waiting on news of the strategy and employment requirements for Wever & Ducré under its new owner. ‘The responsibility of the administrators was to find the best financial solution,’ he said.

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