PANTA Rhei has made headlines this summer due to a bankruptcy proceeding hanging over the head of Slovakia’s largest bookshop chain. The bookseller, however, will remain afloat thanks to the financial group J&T acquiring a 40-percent share package of the retailer through Diversified Retail Company. The majority share and the management will remain in the hands of the founder and owner of Panta Rhei, Ladislav Bödök and his brother David, Eva Rezníková, marketing manager of Panta Rhei, told the SITA newswire.
Panta Rhei, which employs 450, was pushed to the edge after the Belimex Company, another bookshop chain, and Tatran publishing house filed a motion for bankruptcy with a Trnava court after its trade partner, Panta Rhei, failed to pay its bills. Yet, Belimex itself owed money to its suppliers, Sme daily reported.
Panta Rhei settled its €120,000 debt on August 9 while the companies above have withdrawn the bankruptcy motion, Sme wrote.
The management of the bookseller, with 26 stores and several coffee houses, did not deny that the company has had financial problems, arguing that the spring and summer months are tough for the book market. It is not clear whether Panta Rhei will undergo any restructuring, Sme reported.
General Manager of Panta Rhei Christopher E. van der Stelt said that entering his company into the coffee shop market appears to be successful and thus he is optimistic.
“In 2012 we feel positive signals from the market, and the sale of books is [trending towards] growth,” told SITA newswire.
The crisis of Panta Rhei as well as TK Belimex, which also owes money to its publishers, was seen as a threat to the whole book market because of unpaid bills owed to distributors.
“It is the black hole which will flush the whole market,” publisher Koloman Kertész Bagala told Sme in August 3. “When I draw an invoice I have to pay VAT even though I do not get money from some [of the] distributors.”
The only one shareholder of DRC is Cannell Equity Cypriot company, which has 12 shareholders, while 11 J&T managers own most of the shares, and an unspecified Liechtenstein company from the J&T group owns seven percent. DRC owns the U Massima restaurant and Woow Toys toy shop, both of which are located in the J&T owned multiuse River Park complex in the Slovak capital, according to Sme.
20. Aug 2012 at 0:00 | Roman Cuprik