February 17, 2009

Brio Bork Bork Bork Bork! What's Swedish For "Bankruptcy"?


Actually, the word that matters most to the venerable Swedish wooden train maker right now is likviditeten. Liquidity. As in, cash. As in, after disappointing sales, extended operating losses, and extraordinary expenses, Brio is facing what its board of directors report published today calls, "an acute liquidity shortage."

The board cited chronic under-investment in product development, even as the company has expanded into children's furniture, webby toys, and strollers since being taken over by the Swedish investment firm Proventus in 2004. Sounds like someone's strategy just didn't work, or didn't have enough time to work before having the global economic carpet yanked out from under it.

Either way, the company will need at least 300 million kroner [$43 million] to survive the year. A decision about bankruptcy filing could come in mid-March. The Swedish term, as far as I can tell, is konkurs for bankrupt and konkursansökan for bankruptcy.

Spielzeug-Hersteller Brio pleite [german, bild.de, thanks dt reader jan]
BRIO AB: Financial Statement January - December 2008 [businesswire via google]
Toymaker BRIO facing financial train wreck [thelocal.se]



If only Thomas hadn't stolen the incredibly over-priced train market away from them.

I guess they needed a series of banal television shows to compete. Their trains had no faces. I'm sure they could have out-boringed Thomas.

It probably also doesn't help that Ikea sells Brio knockoffs for dirt cheap.

Bankruptcy is called "Konkurs" in swedish. :)

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