BERLIN - HALLE - NUREMBERG
From 15th to 19th February, the students with their Director of Studies, Prof. Markus W. Exler, PhD, visited three German cities. They went to companies and organizations that had recently started restructuring or are intensively involved in this topic in other ways. One main focus point on this year's trip was pre-bankruptcy restructuring processes, which were discussed from different viewpoints.
The students' first appointment was at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in Berlin. Main topics discussed with Ms. Graf-Schlicker were discussion and decision processes, industry contacts and current issues. During the review of the Ministry's Insolvency Code, relevant problem areas had to be identified to allow for an intense exchange and contact with the relevant professional associations (bankruptcy trustees, business consultants, credit institutions), bankruptcy judges, debt counseling services... in advance. Through the reform of the insolvency law in 2012, step-by-step, various sectors were restructured to enforce this law.
Then, the group went on a tour with Mr. Lars Kröger, CFO to see Native Instruments GmbH, which had repeatedly undergone different restructuring measures over the past few years. Now, thanks to successful restructuring, the company can look forward to a bright future. For the Master's students, this was a very exciting example of successful corporate restructure and reorganization.
The following day began with a visit to PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in Berlin. Mr. Frank Girotto, PhD, gave an overview of the main business areas: business reviews, operative restructuring, financial restructuring and consultancy of companies close to bankruptcy. These activities are supported by the Financial Modeling Department, which calculates all the necessary figures for clients, and supports with plausibility checks. The average PricewaterhouseCoopers restructuring mandate deals with clients with sales volumes of approximately € 100m to € 400m.
After that, the students continued to Halle, where they had an appointment with Prof. Lucas. f. Flöther, PhD, at Liquidator Flöther & Wissing. There, they discussed the reorganization of the law office, which was necessary due to changes in a law amendment regulating corporate restructuring (ESUG). Annually, Liquidator Flöther & Wissing in Halle works on about 500 consumer and business bankruptcy cases through six liquidators and the support of over 100 members of staff. The introduction of the ESUG led to a major change in this sector as it pushes liquidators to offer additional consultation services.
The second-last stop was at the University of Halle's Law Faculty with Prof. Stephan Madaus, PhD. Prof. Madaus had prepared a perfect presentation on pre-bankruptcy restructuring in Europe that allowed for a lively dialogue and led to a better understanding of Europe's perspective on bankruptcy laws.
The students concluded their trip with a visit to the bank Sparkasse Nürnberg where Matthias Mickmann explained the practical topics of intensive consultancy and risk management. Through diminishing numbers of restructuring and settlement cases, Sparkasse was forced to set appropriate, business-internal measures, better equipping itself to deal with corporate crises in the future. The measures resulted in a joint approach with creditors in dealing with corporate crises.
For the Master's students, the study trip was an interesting and workplace-relevant enrichment from start to finish. Due to the Departments' and the Director of Studies' good contacts, the study trip allowed the students to network and meet new contacts that will surely come in handy upon graduation.