USA Tech Materials Business and Customer Liquidity

Customer

A leading US global supplier of technology-based functional coatings and color solutions, publicly traded on the NYSE, contacted Bierens.

Situation

The business had sold electronic materials to a customer in the Netherlands for an amount totaling around €400,000. However, the customer in the Netherlands was having difficulty paying because of liquidity problems.

Challenge

By the time the client decided to engage Bierens, the invoices were already past due by 2- 5 months. This provided a slight challenge. Luckily, Bierens specializes in B2B credit and collections throughout all of Europe – and our main office is in the Netherlands!

Result

Bierens proceeded to file bankruptcy procedures with the Dutch courts on three different occasions. Because of this constant pressure, Bierens was able to negotiate with the customer for an installment plan of 16 payments collecting a total of € 437,801.02 from the Dutch customer effectively improving our client’s cash flow.

 

US Footwear Manufacturer a Year Unpaid

Customer

A leading US footwear manufacturer, publicly traded on the NYSE, hired us to recover a €12,000 invoice that had remained unpaid. The client had sold shoes from a few of its brands to a French e-commerce company boasting a catalog of over 60,000 products from nearly 2,000 brands.

Situation

Unfortunately, payment did not follow delivery, and even a year after the due date of the invoice, the company was refusing to communicate with our client.

Challenge

If an invoice is left unpaid for a long time, this often lessens the chance of recovery, especially if multiple reminders have been sent. If a customer thinks they can avoid repercussions for nonpayment, then paying that invoice gets dropped to the bottom of the business’ priorities list.

While Bierens was initially unsuccessful in reaching the debtor, we then acted quickly and started a legal procedure called the European Order of Payment (EOP). Usually, a non-EU company wouldn’t be able to use the EOP, as it’s only available to two parties within the EU. But, lucky for our client, they had a subsidiary based in the EU and were able to meet the requirements.

Result

The debtor obtained counsel, however, and contested the EOP within a month. This meant the EOP couldn’t be enforced (only being applicable to undisputed claims). But the counsel also knew Bierens’ reputation for tenacity and correctly expected us to seek other legal actions. They made the choice to settle the case out of court. Bierens agreed to the settlement and negotiated a 12-month payment plan on the full principal amount, effectively improving the client’s cash flow.

 

Surfing in Romania

Customer

In 2015 a Dutch subsidiary of a leading US surf wear and surfboard brand came to Bierens for help.

Situation

The company had some very old invoices dating back to 2010. They heard we had a new Romanian lawyer and handed the case over to us.

Challenge

It was a challenge dealing with invoices over four years old, especially considering the statutory limit in Romania is three years. Bierens attempted to recover the debt out of court, but that claim was contested based on the statutory limit having been passed. Our Romanian lawyer worked with one of our Dutch lawyers and discovered that Dutch law was applicable according to European regulations (Rome I Regulation). Dutch laws set statutory limits at five years.

Result

It took some work, but the debtor finally concluded that Dutch law applied in this case and repaid the principal amount with some additional interest and costs.

 

Fashionably Late Payment

Customer

Our client in this case was a leading US fashion house, specializing in fashion goods for men and women.

Situation

They had originally sold a large order of handbags and other accessories to a customer in Sweden. The amount of the original invoice was around €15,000. After initial discussions with their Swedish customer on getting the invoice paid, the customer in Sweden avoided all communication.
After the invoice was nine months past due, Bierens was engaged to resolve the situation. The client chose to work with us because of our focus on Business-to-Business collection throughout Europe.

Result

Happily, Bierens was familiar with this client’s debtor, having pursued collections against them before. The debtor, aware of Bierens’ efficiency, agreed to not only pay the principal amount, but interests and costs as well. The total exceeded €17,000 and improved our client’s cash flow.

 

German Tires and the Road to Payment

Customer

A leading German tire supplier, a specialist with one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world was having a problem with a Dutch customer.

Situation

They had been doing business with this customer for about two years when, suddenly, an invoice for around €30,000 went unpaid. They attempted to contact their customer but the customer was unresponsive (partly to do with some differences in both language and local business culture).

Challenge

The customer had claimed the goods were damaged and refused to pay.

Result

Acting as the client’s counsel, Bierens litigated against the Dutch customer. While in court, the Dutch customer was unable to provide any evidence or photos to the judge that the goods were damaged. As a result, the judge ruled in favor of our German client. Shortly thereafter, the client received payment in full for €30,000.