Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Curator expects to be able to pay most creditors

Dutch greenhouses sold in widely discussed bankruptcy

In mid-July, curator Souren and his team harvested the last cucumbers in a greenhouse in Steenbergen, the Netherlands, marking the end of a notable phase in the resolution of a significant bankruptcy. The greenhouse in Steenbergen has been sold to another grower. The greenhouses in Made have been sold to the brothers the curator had previously litigated against. "In one fell swoop, everything is settled," the curator summarizes.

Well, not everything, of course. Souren is referring to the sale of the greenhouses involved in the bankruptcy, which had caused quite a stir. The curator temporarily lost control over 22 hectares of greenhouse and regained control after a lawsuit earlier this spring.

This was not the only legal proceeding. The curator and the opposing party met in court multiple times. The curator now states that there are no longer any claims against the directors. "Everything has been arranged and paid for." He does not disclose amounts. "That's what we agreed upon."

The curator is now receiving 'all the cooperation'. He feels that the brothers, who were initially expelled from the greenhouses, 'were poorly advised'.

High proceeds from greenhouses
With the sale of both cultivation locations, such a high amount has been raised that Souren expects to be able to pay 75% of the outstanding amount owed to creditors. "I have more or less received the market value for the gardens."

The interest in the greenhouses was significant. The curator had the greenhouses appraised and says that they were eventually sold for that appraisal value. He does not mention prices. "Normally, in a bankruptcy sale, you get the execution value, which is usually significantly lower."

Souren speaks of 'a very high distribution' to the creditors. "This almost never happens." Among the creditors is energy supplier Powerhouse. By far the largest creditor, which filed a claim of nearly 20 million. The company filed for bankruptcy for Capsicum B.V. in the fall of 2022, followed by bankruptcy for a series of related companies.

The fact that this was a cultivation company makes it even more special. "Bankruptcies of cultivation companies with a greenhouse full of plants almost never occur." In trade, bankruptcies occur more frequently due to the risky nature of the business.

Risk taken
Now that a tumultuous period in the bankruptcy resolution seems to have come to an end, the curator expects to need up to another year for further administrative handling of the bankruptcy. This includes inventorying all the debts and their ranking. For now, there are known claims amounting to 26 million euros, of which just over 1 million euros are from the tax authorities and 25 million from unsecured creditors.

The curator remains cautious with his prediction about the further handling. Everything must go 'as agreed.' "The company was initially heading in the wrong direction, but now it's also heading in the right direction," Souren summarizes the unusual bankruptcy process. "Some involved have certainly taken a hit."

To get to where the curator and his team are now, risks were taken. "We have been working on this case almost daily with four, five lawyers for a year and a half." This has cost a lot of money, which was partly borrowed by the estate. "Only at the end of the road do you know if it was expensive. Now it turns out not to be the case because all these costs are only a small percentage of the final proceeds, but you never know that for sure beforehand. However, based on my experience, extensive investigations by experts, and the analyses of my team, I was convinced that we were legally sound."

The smoke on what the curator himself calls 'a battlefield' has cleared. As soon as all agreed deeds have passed and the estate has received the last payments, the names of the directors are considered cleared, just as in all other sectors in the business world, according to the curator.

About the case
On November 29, 2022, bankruptcy was declared for Capsicum B.V. and also for the companies Colour Capsicum H, Colour Capsicum K, and Colour Capsicum R. On December 6, bankruptcy was also declared for Colour Capsicum v.o.f. and Growers v.o.f. Curator Mathieu Souren from Zoetermeer is charged with the investigation along with his team.

Publication date: