Airport Business Companies Circle Insolvent Imtech

Several companies have approached Imtech's administrators over possibly buying the business.
No more sports sponsoring for Imtech, like in Hamburg back in the day.

Two weeks after the German subsidiary of Imtech, the Dutch building services connected with the disastrous unfinished Berlin airport, went bust, it is more popular than ever.

The insolvency administrator, Peter-Alexander Borchardt said 40 investors contacted him within a few days of the application, expressing an interest in buying the company.

They appeared undeterred by investigations into corruption, bribery, embezzlement and violations of competition law, most of which relate to deals struck over the long delayed and still not opened Berlin-Brandenberg Airport.

Handelsblatt has learned that a few of Europe's largest construction companies are among the interested parties. Two independent sources confirm that Strabag, a major Austrian company, has already been sounded out over whether it is interested in taking over parts or all of Imtech's business.

Porr, another Austrian industry giant, and French competitor Vinci have also shown an interest. The French company acquired the information and communications division Imtech ICT in August 2014, for a reported purchase price of €255 million ($282 million).

According to insiders, the fact that a buyer would also have to take on Imtech's extremely high pension commitments speaks against a complete takeover.

Despite the revenue and despite a €600 million capital increase two months later, Imtech ran out of money this month. The German subsidiary filed for bankruptcy first, followed by the Dutch parent company. Other group companies have also gone under since then. Five insolvency administrators are now involved in Germany.

The focus in Germany is on the Hamburg-based company, which employs about 4,000 people. They work on some of the country's most prominent construction sites, including the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the Stuttgart 21 train station and the Cologne Opera.

According to a spokesman, the temporary insolvency administrator is trying to buy Imtech in its entirety. However, a breakup of the company is also a possibility, he added. The insolvency administrator's job, said the spokesman, is to find the best solution for the company's creditors.

When they were contacted, neither Strabag nor Porr or Vinci wanted to provide details on their plans with Imtech. In addition to strategic investors, that is, companies in the industry, Handelsblatt has learned that several financial groups have also contacted the insolvency administrator.

Mr. Borchardt must now examine the credibility of the potential buyers before initiating the next stage of the selling process and inviting the investors into a data room, where all of Imtech's business figures are available for inspection.

The investors, for their part, must weigh the risks and opportunities. According to insiders, the fact that a buyer would also have to take on Imtech's extremely high pension commitments speaks against a complete takeover. Besides, antitrust proceedings are currently under way against the company. Legal experts point out, however, that a skillful restructuring could bypass both these issues.


Sönke Iwersen leads Handelsblatt team of investigative reporters. To contact the author: [email protected]