Kitchen furniture brand Rational has applied for insolvency in its native Germany after weeks of speculation.
The announcement comes just days before the annual Küchenmeile trade fair which would’ve seen dealers from all Europe descend on the company’s in-house exhibition.
The company filed for insolvency proceedings on September 16 at the local court of Osnabruck and Stefan Meyer of Pluta Rechtsanwalts GmbH had been appointed as provisional administrator.
The company’s website says that Rational has more than 60 retailers in the UK
In an email sent to dealers early Friday evening (September 15), the company said that a massive IT failure had meant the insolvency was unavoidable.
The email said: “At the beginning of this week, we informed you that significant parts of our server system were damaged by a regional power failure in such a way that we are currently not able to continue processing orders, nor can we forward data on existing orders to production.”After checking by our IT department and external specialist companies, it takes at least 4 to 6 months to rebuild the data. This means that we are currently unable to make any statement as to when production of the kitchens, the complaints or the missing parts can be resumed.
“Considering the current situation, the management felt compelled to apply for provisional insolvency proceedings at the district court in Osnabrück today, September 16, 2022.”
In an official statement from Rational, the company said that in view of the fact that it is not “technically possible” to recover the lost data from its IT system, “it cannot be stated with any certainty when kitchen production may resume”.
The statement said that the firm intention is to “preserve the business, avoid liquidation and, as soon as possible, find a solution that will keep the company going”. The insolvency proceedings are intended to “motivate the current owners and encourage all suitable domestic and international stratgic investors as well as interested financial investors to take over the company in spite of the very difficult situation and guide it towards a good and stable future”.
Provisional insolvency administrator Stefan Meyer said: “We are doing all we can to stabilise the business – an enormous challenge given the extremely exceptional circumstances. We will also work with the management team and the excellent and highly skilled workforce on ways of resolving this situation as quickly as possible so that a long-term solution can be found for this established company following this unavoidable interruption to distribution, design, production and sales.”
Meyer added: “We also decided in close consultation with management to cancel participation in the kitchen trade fair starting at the weekend. Although we regret having to take this step, there is no point in welcoming customers and business partners when we cannot say with any reliability at this stage when rational will be up and running again and the business can resume operations.”
Rational GmbH managing director Mano Bakhtiari said: “We have tried everything to resolve the IT issues over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, this has proven technically impossible in the short term. Filing for insolvency was therefore unavoidable. This situation is extremely stressful for all involved, especially customers and employees. But we will do everything we can to find solutions for our company together with the provisional insolvency administrator. We are in contact with our customers and will keep them informed of developments.”
Previously owned by Italian kitchen furniture Snaidero, Rational – including its UK subsidiary Rational Built-In Kitchens Ltd – was bought by the international Bravat Group in April 2021.
This is just the latest in a string of high-profile German kitchen companies that have had to file for insolvency.
Neue Alno filed for provisional insolvency in July last year as part of its plan for financial restructuring, leading to it finally closing its doors and ceasing operation in September that year.
In 2020, Poggenpohl filed for insolvency, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for a significant drop in business. The company was rescued, however, by Jomoo Germany, a subsidiary of the Chinese Jomoo Group.
In March 2019, Warendorf filed for insolvency citing liquidity problems, but in July that year was rescued by an Asian investor based in Hong Kong.
And in January 2022 German kitchen manufacturer Bax Küchen filed for insolvency.
This is a breaking story and more information will follow