JOOP PARENT FILES CH. 11 — AGAIN

Byline: Melissa Drier

HAMBURG — Wunsche AG, the parent company of Joop GmbH, Cinque, Miles and Jansen, has again filed for bankruptcy.
As reported, Wunsche withdrew its bankruptcy petition in late January after the investor MPC Holding, here, agreed to fund the troubled firm’s reorganization plan.
That reorganization plan, however, has now been abandoned due to the unexpected demand by the German tax authorities for approximately $32.8 million in back taxes for Joop GmbH for 1990 and 1991. The tax authorities have claimed that the firm’s partners received concealed profit payments via various company transactions. During the period in question, Joop GmbH did not yet belong to the Wunsche group, but it is unclear whether the former owners and directors — which include Wolfgang Joop, Herbert Frommen and Philipp Buse — can be called upon to pay the unsettled tax bill.
Wunsche said that in addition to the Joop-related tax problems, the group’s other branded fashion label, Cinque, had run into economic trouble in the last few weeks, creating another considerable financial gap.
“It is understandable that none of the parties involved in the restructuring agreement were willing to cover these new losses and risks,” Wunsche said in a statement. The statement added that attempts to restructure “have failed, once and for all,” but noted that the bankruptcy involves Wunsche Holding and not its four subsidiaries.
Under the failed plan, Joop GmbH had already been placed on the block, and sources say it is close to being sold. The Holy brothers, former owners of Boss and present owners of Windsor, the Joop men’s wear licensee, are said to be the front runners. Other interested parties have included the designer himself in alliance with Coty or its Lancaster division, which holds the Joop perfume license, or an investment group including Heiner Sefranek, owner of Mustang, the German jeans maker, which manufactures Joop jeans.
Wolfgang Joop, the Holys and Sefranek were all unavailable for comment Monday.

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