A story on the German publishing industry web site boersenblatt.net (in German) reports that Netherlands-based Swets (Swets & Zeitlinger Group B.V.) is insolvent and has filed for bankruptcy.
We’ve reached out the company for comment.
With the caveat the mechanical translation is far from perfect, we do learn a bit more by translating the boersenblatt.net article into English using Google Translate.
- The company was granted bankruptcy protection by a court in Amsterdam.
- “The company is dismissed for the duration of the arrangement of its payment obligations to creditors (mainly publishers so).”
Precisely what this will mean for customers, publishers, and others is to be determined. We will update as more details are learned.
For background about the company including financials for 2013, their latest annual report became available about one month ago (PDF).
Section 3.9 of the annual report is titled “Growing Concern” and offers a discussion of some issues that likely played a role in today’s bankruptcy filing. This section concludes with the following paragraph:
As per the end of 2013 as well as per the end of Q1 and Q2 2014, Swets Group failed to meet its covenant requirements related to the long term financing. As a consequence of this breach the syndicate and Intermediate Capital Group (both indicated as ‘the lenders’) are entitled to demand immediate repayment. At the moment of signing of the financial statements 2013, the lenders have not accelerated repayment of any of the loans. Since Swets Group is currently unable to fulfill such a potential demand, there is a material uncertainty regarding the continuity of Swets Group and its subsidiaries.
Swets says they have customers in 160 nations, offices in 23 countries, and employs over 570 people. The annual report adds that the company has 0ver 8,000 customers worldwide representing approximately 800,000 subscriptions.
This mechanical translation of a report from RTL.nl has a bit more.
UPDATE Springer Posts “Important Update” For Swets Customers
Springer’s announcement begins by telling customers that they, “are exposed to a substantial risk if they continue to submit payments to Swets for any Springer content” and that “Springer has terminated its contracts with Swets.” It goes on to urge customers to find “alternative
agents” for any current or planned business with Springer. Read the complete post.
UPDATE 2: We have also learned that Elsevier has sent a letter to customers re: Swets and their bankruptcy. The note tells customers until an order for a publication is transmitted from Swets to Elsevier with payment, Elsevier will not be able to fulfill the order.
UPDATE 3: “Royal Swets & Zeitlinger Holding N.V. (‘Swets & Zeitlinger’ or ‘Swets’) is a group of information services companies operating around the globe. Swets & Zeitlinger operates under the trade name Swets, Accucoms, Libserv and Jongbloed.”