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Rieter plans criminal charge against Picanol leaders

Weaving machinery leader denies using internal Rieter information to launch its own offer for Schlafhorst.

17th August 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Winterthur, Switzerland

Clothing/​Footwear

Rieter plans to file a criminal complaint against two of its board members, in respect of “serious violations of the statutory duty of loyalty and the obligation to maintain business secrets”, arising from its just-announced acquisition of Schalfhorst from Saurer.

According to Rieter, its two board members, Luc Tack and Stefaan Haspeslagh, who are respectively CEO and president and CFO of the Belgian headquartered weaving machinery leader Picanol, used internal information in order to compete with Rieter through their own offer.

Rieter said in its statement:

“The board of directors considers this to be a strong violation of Rieter’s interests, to the detriment of all of its stakeholders, and a sustained breach of the relationship of trust within the which makes further cooperation impossible. The board of directors of Rieter Holding therefore intends to convene an extraordinary general meeting at which its members, Luc Tack and Stefaan Haspeslagh, are to be dismissed. To protect Rieter’s interests, a criminal complaint against the two board members will be filed.”

Picanol swiftly responded with the following statement:

“As a weaving machine manufacturer, Picanol has a long-standing commercial relationship with the controlling shareholder of Saurer Intelligent Technology. In that capacity, it investigated how it could work with the controlling shareholder to save the European operations of Saurer Intelligent Technology, that had encountered financial difficulties. However, the discussions have not led Picanol to make a formal offer for the purchase of assets or businesses.

“In this context, Picanol Group provided a €20 million credit loan to Saurer Technologies GmbH, whilst not obtaining any preferential rights for the purchase of assets or businesses. In addition, upon learning of the financial problems at Saurer, Luc Tack had also informed the CEO of Rieter that this might also represent an opportunity to further strengthen Rieter by acquiring certain parts.

“Luc Tack and Stefaan Haspeslagh respected the rules of governance applicable in the framework of any potential conflict of interest when deliberating or taking decisions on this matter at all times. They neither participated at Rieter in the deliberations nor in the decisions concerning the acquisition of parts of Saurer in the framework of corporate governance nor did they take access to or use information shared through Rieter on the Saurer matter.

“Luc Tack and Stefaan Haspeslagh are convinced that Rieter has been considerably strengthened with the acquisition of parts of Saurer, as Rieter can now offer all types of machines for processing fiber into yarn. In this context, Picanol Group has also offered financing to Rieter through a capital increase for financing part of this acquisition, if the board of directors of Rieter should deem it necessary.

“Picanol Group, Luc Tack, and Stefaan Haspeslagh deeply regret the communication and steps taken by Rieter and retain full confidence in Rieter’s strategy. Luc Tack and Stefaan Haspeslagh will cooperate with any investigation in order to establish the unfounded nature of any of the allegations made by Rieter."

In March 2021, Picanol Group acquired a 10% minority stake in Rieter Holding AG, the world’s leading supplier of systems for short-staple fiber spinning.

www.picanol.be

www.rieter.com

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