Exelco Case Should Be Heard in Belgium, Judge Rules

Wilmington, Del.–A U.S. bankruptcy judge has dismissed the Chapter 11 cases of Antwerp-based Exelco NV and its various subsidiaries, ultimately ruling that the cases should be heard in Belgium.

Judge Kevin Gross issued his ruling following a hearing that took place Monday. 

On Wednesday morning, an order dismissing the Chapter 11 cases was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The ruling is a victory for lender KBC Group NV, which has argued all along that the case belongs overseas where Exelco NV is based and where the company initially began bankruptcy proceedings.

Exelco NV, along with Exelco North America Inc., FTK Worldwide Manufacturing BVBA, Ideal Diamond Trading USA Inc. and Ideal Diamond Trading Ltd. all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in late September.

On Dec. 3, Exelco International Ltd. and Exelco (Asia) Ltd. followed suit.

According to court documents, Antwerp-based Exelco NV originally filed the rough equivalent of Chapter 11 in Belgium but then withdrew that filing and brought its case to the United States. The company wanted the protections afforded by bankruptcy in the U.S. so it could block lender KBC Group NV from seizing and liquidating its assets overseas.

But KBC fought back, filing a motion to either dismiss the case or grant it the right to exercise rights and remedies against the diamond company in Belgium despite the filing of a Chapter 11 case in the U.S.

KBC also objected to the attempted sale of Exelco North America Inc.’s assets to SimplexDiam for $6 million.

In an email to National Jeweler Thursday morning, a KBC spokesperson said the bank is pleased with the ruling but declined further comment on the case.

The attorney representing Exelco did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

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