The bankruptcy of Dutch child care group Estro under a ‘silent’ administrator seems to have been a carefully planned operation, according to the Financieele Dagblad.
Estro was declared bankrupt on July 5 and blamed the financial crisis and government cuts for its financial woes.
However, around a month before the bankruptcy Estro management moved its headquarters on paper from Amersfoort to Amsterdam, an FD investigation shows.
The move took Estro out of the jurisdiction of the tough Midden-Nederland court and into that of the Amsterdam court which was known to be sympathetic to the appointment of a silent administrator, sources told the FD.
Estro wanted a controlled bankruptcy, the sources told the paper. The silent administrator, who talks to all parties involved, was already in charge of the bankruptcy in early June and arranged a quick takeover of two-thirds of the group by private investment house HIG Capital.
HIG Capital is taking over 250 of the daycare centres, which will relaunch next month under the brand name Smallsteps. Estro, which operates the Catalpa, Kiddy World, Elan and other daycare chains, provides services for 31,000 children.
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