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Local News Summary of October, 3rd

  • Basel Fogal stockings store closes due to bankruptcy
  • Investigations of inmate death in Muttenz prison closed
  • Rhine Valley train line open for traffic again

Basel Fogal stockings store closes due to bankruptcy

The former Gaydoul stockings firm, Fogal, as well as the swimsuit label, Lahco, have filed for bankruptcy. The parent company submitted its balance sheets to the district court in Meilen, near Zurich, on Monday.

Heavy impact on Basel

The bankruptcy of the Swiss company has also affected the store at Freie Strasse 4 in Basel. Its three employees were informed yesterday morning and had to immediately close the store. They were not even allowed to hang up a sign to let customers know about Fogal’s closure. After more than 90 years in Basel, which began at Freie Strasse 44, this is the end for the store. Two of the saleswomen, who have been working at Fogal for 43 years, are in shock.

A total of 35 employees in Switzerland are affected by the insolvency, most of whom work in production in Erlenbach (ZH), Lahco/Fogal announced in a statement issued on Monday. The spokesperson could not say how many Lahco/Fogal employees were working outside of Switzerland. The bankruptcy will also affect international regional companies.

The long-established brand Fogal had been bought by the Gaydoul group (run by “Denner” supermarket chain owner Philippe Gaydoul) in 2009 and was sold to the Swiss swimsuit fashion company Lahco in 2015.

Former small shareholder Eberhard von Koerber initiated an increase of capital, which was necessary for the takeover of Fogal. Last year, the then 78-year-old took on the presidency of Lahco/Fogal. Mr von Koerber was a leading member of ABB and BMW earlier in his career.

Death of main shareholder as cause for bankruptcy

The unexpected death of the main shareholder Eberhard von Koerber on 3August this year is the reason for the company’s bankruptcy, according to the company statement. This turn of events resulted in a new situation and left a gap that could not be filled; even with the great commitment of all involved parties, the firm said.

The brands that had been taken over in the turnaround were successful, the spokesperson added. New collections were well received and the copmany met its targets. The brands’ incorporation into the product range of major department store groups generated additional successes over the last months.

The future of the Lahco and Fogal brands is now a matter for the liquidators, the spokesperson stated.

The swim suit label Lahco was founded in 1922. Léon Fogal established his company in 1921 and opened the first Fogal boutique in Zurich two years later. Denner owner and investor Philippe Gaydoul took over Fogal to expand his lifestyle engagement. He also owns the shoe label Navyboot.


Investigations of inmate death in Muttenz prison closed

A criminal investigation into the death of a Muttenz prison inmate who was found dead in his cell on 21 January have been closed. The Romanian national was found to have died of a morphine overdose. Judging from its degree of purity, the drug had been a medicinal prescription, experts concluded.

The influence of a third party can therefore be excluded. It is also not possible that the morphine had been perscribed to the inmate. However, it remains open how the inmate obtained the drug and whether the lethal dose was an accident or a suicide.

According to specialists, the man had always been in a physically and mentally stable condition that did not endanger his health or life in prison. Therefore, the criminal proceedings surrounding the death of the 27-year-old inmate have been closed.


Rhine Valley train line open for traffic again

After seven weeks of track works, the important Rhine Valley train route between Rastatt and Baden-Baden is now open again. On Sunday night, a passenger night train from Zurich to Hamburg was the first to cross the renewed tracks.

Since Sunday, all long-distance and regional trains are running according to the regular timetable, the German Railway company (DB) announced on its website. The first cargo trains could also use the main train line by the Rhine again.

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) had previously expected passenger traffic to run as normal again as of Tuesday. The North-South connection is crucially important for the entire European train traffic and had been closed since 12 August. During tunnel works at Rastatt, the train tracks had sunken due to water and soil erosion.

Diversions for passengers and cargo

The diversion route via Stuttgart was long, offered less capacity, and was also encumbered by construction sites. Another route through the Alsace needed special locomotives because of different traction currents.

On a regular day, 120 passenger trains and up to 200 cargo trains pass the Rastatt route. The international diversion routes managed 84 cargo trains per day.

Train commuters and travellers had to cope with longer and more complicated routes. Cargo traffic was able to switch to using motorways and the Rhine. This in turn caused additional lorry traffic jams and increased cargo costs – not to mention further delays.

SBB expect the cost to be in the millions

Germany is now facing compensation demands – the DB is offering a reimbursement of half the costs for affected passengers with a general train pass. There is also an impending legal case to find those responsible for the track erosion and breakdown. According to a spokesperson, the SBB is still undecided whether it also wants to make a compensation claim.

The SBB said the Rastatt problem had caused “massive consequences” including revenue losses in the millions. The exact numbers figure cannot be calculated, it was further stated.