Following Helkon International Production and peppermint from the Helkon Media Group, the German postproduction group Das Werk has become the latest former Neuer Markt stock to file an application to start insolvency proceedings.
And while peppermint was still operating at MIFED as a sales entity with an ongoing business - to the surprise and concern of some German players - a rescue package may still be on the cards for the company, despite prolonged delays.
Meanwhile, a statement yesterday (November 6) reported that Das Werk AG's management board had filed at the Regional Court in Frankfurt and been allocated a preliminary insolvency administrator. The filing, however, only concerns Das Werk's publicly quoted holding company - the AG - and does not apply to the group's postproduction companies which will continue to operate their businesses as before.
"Magic Video in Hamburg as well as all foreign subsidiaries in the postproduction segments (CFX, das werk Zurich, EnEfecto, Glassworks), film production (FFP Media, Promark Entertainment, Road Movies) and animation (Trixter) are not included in the application and therefore are not directly affected by the application," the communique stated.
Ongoing plans to merge the German Das Werk postproduction companies into a new entity are to continue as announced in August. But, as the communique remarked, "the character of the incorporation and the scope of the future business will have to be discussed between the preliminary insolvency administrator of the holding company Das Werk AG, banks and management."
Last month, Das Werk announced that it had been given the greenlight by the German Stock Exchange to change its listing from the Neuer Markt to the Frankfurt's Regulated Market (Geregelter Markt) from Monday 11 November.
Earlier this summer peppermint announced that it had bought itself out of Helkon, which saw a 51% stake returned to founder Michael Knobloch. This stake was then to be sold to a strategic partner.
Knobloch has since confirmed that the deal was not completed and that the majority of the company remains in the hands of Helkon, which itself filed for insolvency protection in August.
Last month during MIPCOM Knobloch announced that he was within three days of signing with the financial partner, widely believed to have been tax-fund backed German producer and financier Green Light Medien.
But this deal was not completed in time to save the company from shedding further staff and prevent it from last week filing for insolvency protection.
Peppermint has been operating at MIFED as a sales company with an ongoing business, but Knobloch now talks of outside investment as being some two to three weeks away.
Meantime its financial difficulties have caused it to lose the sales mandate to The Guys, Jim Simpson's September 11th drama, that it picked up during the Toronto festival. That film is now being sold by Focus Features.