Over a Dozen Dutch LSPs File for Bankruptcy as WCS Group Collapses

WCS Group Bankrupt

According to a Dutch bankruptcy filings site, on December 28, 2023, the District Court of The Hague granted language service provider (LSP) WCS Group (dba WCS Academy) a suspension of payments, which means that a judge had appointed an administrator to negotiate with the company’s creditors.

A suspension of payments is a provisional ruling, and it implies that there will still be a hearing for the company and its creditors within two to four months. As a result of this process, companies based in The Netherlands might undergo a debt restructuring procedure or the court might also declare them bankrupt.

However, Slator was able to verify via an official document from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce that as of January 16, 2024, only one of the 14 companies that are part of the conglomerate is still listed in “suspension of payments” status, Tolkennet B.V. The rest of the companies are listed as having been converted to “bankruptcy” status. 

The bankrupt companies are Peat Beheer B.V., Duo Vertaalburo B.V., Cerasus B.V., Business Translation Services B.V., L & L Documentation and Translation B.V., Wilkens B.V., Vertaalbureau Bothof B.V., Data Concept Technology B.V., Intrados B.V., WordHouse B.V., SIGV B.V., and HearHear Tolkdiensten B.V.

A potential factor in the insolvency may be WCS’ use of debt to fund the acquisition of the 14 group companies. As interest rates rose starting in 2022, interest expense may have become a major burden. A LinkedIn post by translator/attorney Deborah Parry do Carmo regarding one of the companies, Duo Vertaalburo B.V., also suggests over-leveraging as a likely cause of the collapse. 

Parry do Carmo addresses translators and interpreters in her post, saying that they will get “nothing.” She bases her assessment on the group financials, including a debt that amounts to over EUR 9.2m and a EUR 2m credit facility (credit line) for which Duo Vertaalburo B.V. is liable. In cases of insolvency status, all companies affiliated with a parent company are liable and all account receivables are used to pay creditors.

WCS Group’s website is up and lists 3,247 active freelancers in the “About” section. The company is described as a “family business” active in 30 countries, but no executives are named.