Over four hundred employees of the Louny wagon works of the Heavy Machinery Services company (HMS), that has been tottering for four years due to company´s huge debts and where the state of affairs culminated in gunfire at the company grounds on the first day of the summer holidays, can relax as DAKO-CZ leased from Ms. Petra Hýsková, the liquidator, a part of the indebted wagon works of unclear ownership. DAKO-CZ wants to maintain the production in the Louny operation.
Andrej Čírtek, the DAKO-CZ´s spokesperson, says that DAKO-CZ wants the wagon works returns to its good old days. “We want a return to the times when the Louny wagon works was in standard business and fulfilled all the obligations towards the financial partners, the authorities, toward its suppliers, customers and employees. Our goal is the prosperity of the company and the maximum possible satisfaction of the creditors' claims,” said Čírtek, admiring at the same time how it has been possible that despite all the problems and the half-criminal past, the company retained a quality team of employees who kept the wagon works on their feet. “We want to build on these people,” he added.
DAKO-CZ belongs to the CSG group and is practically the only manufacturer of rolling stock brake systems in the Czech Republic. In addition, it has more than two hundred years of history and experience and is backed by a strong group of partners, i.e. the Czechoslovak Group, together with Tatravagónka Poprad, another strong shareholder.
The Mayor of Louny Pavel Janda welcomes the decision of DAKO-CZ. After all, the wagon works is one of the largest employers in the region. “I do care about what will happen here. I have therefore decided to intervene so much as a politician can. I met with the new leaseholders, and I firmly believe that everything will turn out well and none of the current employees will lose their jobs,” said the mayor.
The liquidator preferred DAKO-CZ over the previous leaseholder, the Legios Loco, who, according to her statement, does not cooperate, that is why Legios Loco received a notice of termination of the contract at the end of June. “It was unsustainable for the wagon works to continue to be influenced by the very entity that caused the company's problems and has been acting against the creditors' interests throughout the insolvency proceedings,” said Ms. Hýsková.
Legios Loco director Petr Vlček criticized the liquidator´s approach in a statement for the Czech Press Bureau (ČTK). According to him, her actions paralyze the company operations. Legios Loco lawyers have applied for interim measures before the courts.
The sad part of the story of the Louny wagon works, which belonged to the Heavy Machinery Services, began to unfold as early as 2010, when news surfaced that the company names were changed often, the real owners did not communicate and could not be found nor reached, also the company owed hundreds of thousands. It is good news to the creditors that the company will be under the wing of DAKO-CZ, as none of the previous three liquidators was able to find the Ledger and other book-keeping documentation, neither electronic nor in hard copy.
The wagon works in Louny started in 1862 already. Since 2014, the company has been undergoing bankruptcy proceedings together with the unclear owners within the group that owned the wagon works, i.e. Heavy Machinery Services. Now it owes a total of CZK 3.3 billion to creditors, such as banks, tax authorities, suppliers and employees. A few days ago, the Regional Court in České Budějovice dismissed the application for the reorganization of HMS and declared it bankrupt. A meeting of creditors should be held in two weeks (August 21).
The state of affairs in the wagon works culminated on July 1, when over thirty armed men entered the premises of the company at night, then the police had to resolve the case by gunshots in the air.