Geos chief to seek halt to bankruptcy proceedings

The founder and president of Geos Corp. said Thursday he will ask the Tokyo District Court to avert bankruptcy proceedings for the major language school operator.

Tsuneo Kusunoki expressed his intention during a telephone interview with Kyodo News a day after Geos filed for such proceedings with the court, which ordered the protection of the company’s assets from creditors.

“A company has come forward to extend financial support to Geos so it does not have to go bankrupt,” Kusunoki, 62, said.

An executive in charge of financial affairs, who is one of the three board members at Geos including Kusunoki, decided to file for bankruptcy protection, according to Kusunoki.

The Geos president said he is considering taking countermeasures as he did not agree with the executive’s decision.

The financial executive and some other Geos officials, who filed for the bankruptcy proceedings, told reporters Wednesday that although there was disagreement in the company’s management over whether it should go bankrupt, the application for court protection was legal.

But a lawyer for Kusunoki said the application may have constituted an abuse of rights.

Stopping the bankruptcy proceedings, however, may be difficult as it has already been decided that of the 329 schools operated by Tokyo-based Geos, 230 will be handed over to G.communication Co., a Nagoya-based company which took over the assets of another bankrupt language school operator, Nova Corp., in 2007 and turned them into a profitable operation.

“I would like to protect as many students and employees as possible,” Kusunoki said, adding that the transfer of so many schools to G.communication would make it difficult to save them.

Kusunoki is expected to voice his opposition when the Tokyo court holds a hearing with parties concerned to decide whether it should order the launch of bankruptcy proceedings.

Meanwhile, G.communication said 201 of the 230 schools it will take over from Geos will resume classes Friday.

Geos was founded in 1973 in the city of Tokushima, Tokushima Prefecture, and the number of its schools peaked at 500 during its heyday.

The company, which says it has 2,100 employees on its payroll, followed an expansionary policy of setting up English language schools in other countries such as Canada, Australia, Singapore and South Korea.