Members of the family that own the big German Otto Group have acquired all the shares of Sympatex Technologies, following a financial reorganization of this well-known developer of functional materials. According to Sympatex, there will be no structural changes or staff restructuring initiatives and Sympatex will still operate as an independent company. Its head office will remain in Unterföhring, near Munich.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Sympatex has been beset by financial difficulties in recent years. In November 2015, Sympatex failed in its attempt to pay back a loan of €13 million though a call option. The loan was due in 2018, but Sympatex wanted to pay it back earlier to maximize business opportunities with regard to its strategy and financial structure.

Sympatex reached total sales of €20.3 million in 2016, representing a decline of €2.9 million as compared to the previous year. However, its losses before interest, taxes and depreciation, Ebitda, decreased from €4.2 in 2015 to €1.8 in 2016.

Sympatex Holding changed its name to Smart Solutions Holding in February 2016, and then two months later it sold an affiliate, Ploucquet, and its production site in Zittau, Germany, for one symbolic euro to the Kufner Group, a leading global supplier of interlinings and technical textiles.

Kufner, Ploucquet and Sympatex agreed on a long-term production partnership. The Kufner Group carries out the lamination as well as the finishing of technical textiles for Sympatex at the factory in Zittau. Meanwhile, Smart Solutions Holdings focused on the Sympatex brand and the internationalization of its footwear, apparel and contract & workwear business units.

Rüdiger Fox took over the management of Sympatex from Michael Kamm in the middle of 2016. However, the losses accumulated by Smart Solutions increased from €68.91 million in 2016 to €71.79 million in 2017. Due to the resulting financial difficulties, creditors agreed to write off 90 percent of their dues. With additional financial restructuring measures, the debt could be reduced from €11.7 million to €1.3 million.

Creditors also abstained from requesting payment of interest for the previous twelve months and gave up on guarantees for the Sympatex brand and related privileges. In return, Smart Solutions was obligated to settle the outstanding debt immediately. 

The Otto Group is involved in retailing, shopping centers and other activities. One of its properties is SportScheck, the big German chain of sporting goods stores. The Otto family appointed Cura, a financial services group, to advise Sympatex' management team.