Finance

Developer of sustainable coconut panels Goodhout bankrupt

This confirms curator Vincent van den Bos to RTL Z. Goodhout was deferred early last week, but in the end was unable to prevent bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee is now looking at whether a restart is possible from the bankruptcy.

Big ambitions

Goodhout was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Silvia ten Houten. The company develops plates, which are produced from coconut waste.

A year after its foundation, Goodhout won an Accenture Innovation Award. Ten Houten expressed the ambition that the company would have two to three working factories in Southeast Asia by 2020.

Favorite sustainability industry

In recent years, the company has been inundated with attention for its plans. Goodhout and Ten Houten became darlings of the sustainability industry.

From Delft to Monaco, the founder was allowed to talk about the innovative and sustainable coconut panels, and about her plans to use the money earned with them to benefit local coconut farmers and their communities.

Ten Houten said that with Goodhout he eventually wanted to be included in the ‘strategy books’ about sustainable business, alongside companies such as Tony’s Chocolonely and Patagonia.

Grants

Goodhout also managed to secure grants to further develop the product. For example, in 2017 the company received a subsidy of more than 142,000 euros that should enable it to produce the coconut panels commercially. The production factory should become operational in 2019.

Goodhout’s most recent annual accounts show that the company also raised more than 1.2 million euros between 2017 and 2019 through the issue of shares.

Bankruptcy

In an interview with founder Ten Houten on the radio station BNR in March, there seemed to be no problem. But on December 7, Goodhout appears to have received a postponement of payment, now followed by bankruptcy.

“Over the past few days I have looked at whether the company had the right to exist and whether it had sufficient financial resources,” says curator Van den Bos. “Because that turned out not to be the case, the suspension of payments has now been converted into bankruptcy.”

lack of money

Van den Bos blames the bankruptcy on a lack of money. “I have not yet started investigating the causes of the bankruptcy, but it seems that there were insufficient financial resources to fund the final stages of the research and development process.”

The bankruptcy trustee confirms that Goodhout still did not record any significant turnover. “There are offices and a small production unit in Rotterdam. But the company first has to scale up considerably before it can start producing for the market.”

Founder is silent

Founder Ten Houten does not want to answer questions about the cause of the bankruptcy. She also does not want to say how much has been invested in the company. “The curator is now in charge, and unfortunately I have nothing more to say about it.”

However, she says she is still working on restart plans. “If the dust settles and there may be something positive to report, I am open to respond to that.”

The fact that Goodhout never got around to actually producing in the seven years of its existence is due to the complexity of innovation. “You may call that distressing, but to understand that you would have to delve into how long it takes to develop new materials, processes and engineering.”

Restart options

Van den Bos will examine in the coming weeks whether there are still possibilities for a restart from the bankruptcy. “The aim is to retain as large a part of the company as possible, which can have a great social significance. I also want to retain employment as much as possible.”

Goodhout employed ten people before the deferral of payment.

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