Punch sells BBS and Punch Metals
Some four months after Punch International nv, parent company of wheel manufacturer BBS, described automotive industry market conditions as “extremely difficult”, it has announced the sale of its BBS and Punch Metals BBS and Punch Metals businesses, which belong to the company’s Motive group. This significant part of Punch International’s automotive business will be acquired by Creacorp nv, Punch’s main shareholder. Punch will retain ownership of the BBS brand, however the transaction gives rise to a one off non-cash loss of around 48 million euros. In return, Creacorp nv is taking over a number of obligations, such as the rental guarantee for the property used by BBS and Punch Metals (approximately 10 million euros), securities for loan agreements and certain key suppliers (7.5 million euros) and the purchase obligation for the Hayes Lemmerz site in Gainesville, Georgia (5 million euros). A licence fee will also be paid for the use of the BBS brand.
The company notes that its Motive division has been severely affected by the continuing financial and economic crisis, and its weak results were affecting those of the whole Punch group. By means of this sale, Punch aims to restore the group to a sound position.
Announced alongside this transaction was a change in senior management. Punch CEO Guido Dumarey has stepped down from his position, and has been succeeded by managing director and CFO, Wim Deblauwe. Mr Dumarey will remain as chairman of the Board of Directors. Frederik Strubbe, who has been the group’s financial controller since October 2005, will become Punch’s new CFO. Dumarey held the job of CEO for exactly twelve years, having been appointed to the role on June 30, 1997. The group has changed fundamentally under his leadership, the former CEO comments: “Punch’s entry into the automotive sector was to a great extent related to my personal interest in the sector. With hindsight, the timing was wrong, and nobody was able to foresee that the crisis would hit the sector so hard. However I wish to take responsibility for that decision and in this way protect the group against financial problems. This is why BBS and Punch Metals are being transferred to Creacorp, of which I myself am the leading shareholder, and why I am stepping down as CEO.
“In addition, the regrettable incident with the trade unions several weeks ago has also made me realise that it is now better for me to step back in order to devote myself to the activities which have continued to fascinate me throughout the years: identifying and acting on opportunities. I will therefore be concentrating on developing Creacorp’s activities. I want Creacorp to be there after the crisis, as a strong player,” Dumarey added.
“I wish Wim Deblauwe and his team all the best. They can count on me to play my role of responsible stewardship at the Board of Directors to the best of my ability,” Guido Dumarey concluded.
The changes to the management of Punch also have an impact on that of Punch Graphix nv. Wim Deblauwe is resigning as CEO there, likewise with immediate effect. Herman olde Bolhaar, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Punch Graphix nv, has been appointed as acting CEO.