The cost of the invoice forces mythical German factories such as Hakle or Eschenbach to close. The situation is “critical” in sectors such as paper and metal manufacturers, the chemical industry or bakeries
The high prices of gas and electricity, together with the increase in the price of transport and raw materials have led to century-old German companies to declare insolvency. Others have halted production until further notice. Not even World War II could with them. Until now. Toilet paper giant Hakle, founded in 1928, filed for insolvency on Tuesday.A couple of days ago, the Eschenbach porcelain factory in Thuringia announced that it planned to close business in December after 180 years. The director of the company, Rolf Frowein explained his decision to ZDF public television: “The fact is that for energy, gas and electricity, which we need to manufacture porcelain in a year we would have to pay 5.5 million euros and that It’s six times more than what we pay right now.” The only solution, they point out from the company, would now be for the Government to declare maximum prices for electricity and gas.
Both companies have not given up hope of being able to continue their business if they receive state aid to get through the difficult situation. However, these are not the only firms affected by the serious crisis. The Görtz shoe chain , which has 160 stores and 1,800 employees in the country, and the car component manufacturer Dr. Schneider , which employs 2,000 workers, have also entered insolvency proceedings this week.
The spiral of prices will continue its course, since in many cases the companies have contracts with fixed prices that will go up. In fact, gas supply companies can pass on price increases to customers based on a so-called energy security law , which thereby tries to prevent the bankruptcy of these important supply companies.
In addition to the lack of gas , inflation, the rise in interest rates together with the drop in global demand worsen the situation. “The German economy must prepare for a long and harsh winter,” they say. The situation is “critical” in sectors of production that require large amounts of energy, such as paper and metal manufacturers, the chemical industry or bakeries. The ArcelorMittal steel company wants to temporarily close two production plants in Bremen and Hamburg. The manufacturer of the AdBlue solution has stopped production for two weeks.The product is used to reduce diesel emissions and according to the transport employer “without AdBlue there are no trucks and without trucks there is no supply”, warned his boss Dirk Engelhardt in the yellow newspaper Bild on Wednesday with very drastic words, assuring that the minister of Economy of the green party Robert Habeck «is leading the country to crash against a wall».
According to business sources, the production problem would also massively affect the sewage treatment plants , since the production of hard water has been reduced and this is necessary to manufacture the products that clean the water before it is discharged into the rivers. Also the lack of CO2 is wreaking havoc in the food and beverage industry. Several beer manufacturers such as Apolda or Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren have announced that they have to stop production due to the lack of said gas, which, on the other hand, they were already paying up to 20% more expensive.
The bakeries protested on Thursday by turning off the lights of their businesses to draw attention to their situation , since in many cases the businesses, like millions of families, are confronted with gas prices up to seven times higher than what they paid until now. According to a study by the German confederation Bdi, one in ten companies has already been forced to reduce or stop production and one in four is considering transferring part of the production abroad.
German unions have announced a “hot autumn” of protests. The president of the DGB confederation of German trade unions, Yasmin Fahimi, has warned of serious consequences in the labor market: “There is a threat of a domino effect that could lead to deindustrialization in Germany. That would be a disaster », she declared to the weekly Spiegel, while she asked for more aid from the Government to lessen the situation. Next week there will be a meeting of unions, employers and the government to negotiate possible salary increases to deal with inflation.