Following drawn-out proceedings, on 20 April, the Munich District Court ordered the provisional insolvency administration of Byton GmbH, the German subsidiary of the Chinese electric car start-up Byton.
The Munich-based lawyer Michael Bauer, partner of the law firm Dr. Beck & Partner, will take over the post as provisional insolvency administrator. This was announced by the district court in Munich. Byton GmbH, represented by its managing director Dr Daniel Kirchert, is named as the debtor.
At the end of January, it became public that the Munich I public prosecutor’s office was investigating Byton GmbH for dragging out insolvency proceedings. As a spokesperson for Byton GmbH confirmed to electrive, the employees at the facility in Ismaning had not been paid a salary for months at that point. “The company management in China failed to arrange contractually guaranteed payments,” the spokesperson said.
There have been repeated reports about the difficult economic situation at Byton. Byton furloughed half of its US employeesin April, and later the company had announced that it would cease operations for six months on 1 July. At the beginning of January 2021, it was announced that Byton had reached an agreement with Foxconn on an investment of 200 million dollars and a joint production of the M-Byte from 2022.
Further, the media reports in January alleged that the Byton GmbH building in Ismaning has been empty for months. This was not only due to the pandemic and employees being placed in home-office working situations, but because the lease had been terminated. The managing director of Byton GmbH was Daniel Kirchert, who was also the CEO of the entire company. However, the ex-BMW manager had already left the company in July 2020. Since the position of managing director in Germany was never filled by Byton, there was also no longer anyone responsible in this country who could have applied for furlough relief or filed for insolvency. Hence the court’s suspicion of delayed insolvency.
As early as January, it was heard from company circles that a possible insolvency of Byton GmbH had already been on the table much earlier in 2020. Kirchert had also advocated the step in order to be able to restructure the company. However, since those responsible in China are said to have rejected this step, Kirchert had no choice but to resign in order to get out of liability.
A few days ago it was announced that Kirchert has meanwhile joined Evergrande Auto, the electric car offshoot of the Chinese Evergrande Group, and is now working there as Executive Vice President. However, as he is named as a representative of Byton GmbH in the insolvency proceedings at the Munich District Court, his past with his old employer is likely to catch up with him again.
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