Turnaround with force and effect

Turnaround with force and effect

An owner-managed, medium-sized group of three companies is to be sold. The situation is sensitive: EBIT is weakly positive, and the seller has a business and legal history.

The plan and the challenges:

Sale of the group of companies to two investors – one of them is the client of our interim manager. The GOiNTERIM- Manager Client is planning a carve out of two business units and the takeover or continued operation of the two other companies. In the process, several challenges crystallized at different levels.

  • Four key challenges in four fields of action:
    • Strategy
    • Business
    • Law
    • Man

Hurdle Strategy:

The plan is thwarted. The other players are also executing their strategy and playing economies of scale. The task is to turn the tide. And this is how it was done.

Hurdles Business & Law:

A mergers & acquisition process plus carve-out that initially appeared clear turned into a veritable business crisis. Legal proceedings have to be initiated, leases clarified, liquidity secured and sales boosted again.

Human hurdle:

In the sales process, a hard line is played. Agreements are not kept, obligations are not served and much more. In addition, the workforce is proving to be extremely unsettled and disoriented.

The procedure in the individual subareas:

  • Strategy:

    The carve-out concept was undermined in violation of the contract. Therefore, alternative ways had to be found, which also succeeded.

  • Business:
    In Company B, a complete collapse of sales had to be accepted because the monolithic customer structure collapsed for legal reasons. The solution: liquidity management and “fresh money”. Then, first of all, the acquisition was pushed, then the corporate strategy (incl. sales/marketing) was defined, a DIN ISO certification was achieved, the GMP certification was pushed.
  • Law:

    Eviction and rent actions were initiated at Company C (real estate). In the other companies, a total of 40 court cases are pending and have to be fought through. Some of the cases are won in first, second and third instance, others are still being heard.

  • Man:

    Employees are strongly involved in all processes. Clear, solution- and implementation-oriented communication gets colleagues back on track. Out of a fear-laden blame culture, employees were released into personal responsibility.


An alternative approach was found for two carve- outs.

Company B has developed very well. The acquisition was so successful that production facility 1 will be expanded from 30 kg to 65 kg/annum. Production facility 2 is in planning. DIN ISO/GMP has been introduced or initiated. Instead of a monolithic customer structure, a broad portfolio of national and international customers developed. In addition, the accounting department was set up independently. EBIT is strongly positive.

In the property, the tenant situation has been cleared up, eviction actions have been enforced. Situation property now (almost) as desired.

The workforce is pulling along again.

In short, companies have moved from the “distressed” to the growth phase.

The success factors:

  • Focus:

    Focus on very few key factors (sales, cash management): Which customers, which products, which deals with whom, at what price.

  • Tasks:
    Distribute tasks at management level in a transparent and binding manner:
      • The Interim Manager as Client/Shareholder: Litigation-Bank-Liquidity
      • The Interim Manager as Managing Director: Operations-Sales-Cash-ManagementTasks:

        Distribute tasks at management level in a transparent and binding manner:

  • Motivation:

    Restore motivation of employees. Regain confidence through the “blood, sweat and tears” phase and regain loyalty from all involved.

  • Principles:

    Living principles: Effectiveness before efficiency, speed before exactness.

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