Now the Heidelberg, too, is seeking refugee under the federal protective umbrella (Rettungsschirm). I know the company well from our “print on demand” time (that must have been towards the end of the era Mehdorn at Heidelberg). In those days, the producer of printing machines was a very elite address (I remember well the Drupa 2000) and I would have liked to get them as a partner. Unfortunately, that wish never came true.
In order to get federal protection under the economical fond, a company has to meet certain criteria. The problems of a firm in trouble must not be caused by self-made managerial mistakes.
The Süddeutsche says:
As a matter of facts, the problems of Heideldruck are less due to long-term mismanagement, but more to a persistent depression in the marketing sector caused by the world-wide cyclical depression. Being the world market leader in bowed printing machines, the mechanical engineering company suffers drastically under the reduced demand caused by plummeting numbers of printing assignments in the marketing industry.
Being the leader of the market, says Schreier, Heideldruck can hold its considerate competitive advantages, even extend them, which promises high growth rates as soon as the economic situation will return to normal.
Is it really that easy? How can you be sure something is a management error or not? Why would market leaders with considerate competition advantage need help? Doesn’t that mean that their competitors are being discriminated against? Or else, how then can you refuse similar help to other companies who, through no fault of their own (?) have financial problems?
Might not all this further ruin our already too overindebted country?
In my small microcosm, the world looks different. First thing every morning, I shake all the high-gloss paper out of the Süddeutsche without reading it. Then I, again, shake my head at understanding that all these ads are of no use to anyone and put it in the paper bin. I would gladly pay a little more if the paper were without those extra glossy ads and also without all other full-length ads printed on some of the pages of the proper newspaper.
The fact that the printing business is suffering under the change in marketing and media caused by the internet is everything but a surprise. Maybe the decline of business for printing presses also has cyclical causes, but above all, I believe it is a structural and predictable development.
A federal surety that implies the hope for better times to come after the crisis might be more detrimental then beneficial to a “change in management”.
But in the meantime, there are already trade chains (ARCANDOR), (who by rights should be happy because competition like Hertie disappears) and car manufacturers like PORSCHE (who are over-indebted and hardly sell any cars but are otherwise totally healthy) or even the CONTI/SCHAEFFLER standing in the queue for federal subsidies. And many more.
Some smaller companies, like Aksys GmbH – a component supplier for cars, domestic appliances and the construction industry – already received negative federal answers to their applications. They are probably not considered “system relevant”.
This is really a strange world we are living in. What was it Gus Backus sang a long time ago?
(translated by EG)