Schaeffler Appeals for Investment
Schaeffler Group is reportedly fighting against the possibility of a company breakup, as the automotive supplier struggles under the weight of 11 billion euros of debt it acquired when buying Continental AG. Over the weekend the owners of the Schaeffler Group, Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler and her son Georg Schaeffler, commented on the situation in a public statement which saw them deny the company gambled on the purchase of Continental AG and appeal for outside support.
“…Schaeffler Group requires support for a limited period of time. Our talks with politicians are about securing interim financial aid in a special exceptional situation for a company that is sound at the core,” the statement read, adding: “The Schaeffler Group will present a viable concept to the federal government and the states. We are well aware that the viability of this concept will be scrutinized by the responsible public authorities to ensure that an interim financial aid package will not burden the taxpayers, and we realize that the Schaeffler Group must pay the statutory interest and fees incurred due to the bridgeover.”
“We expect that it will be possible to find investors at the latest when the economic situation has recovered, and to be able to implement the strategic goals connected with the Schaeffler and Continental alliance.”
‘We are not gamblers’
The Schaefflers’ statement continued: “We are not ‘gamblers’ who have speculated and lost. Speculation is what traders do when they bet on rising or falling share prices at the stock exchange. Our alliance with Continental has nothing at all to do with stock exchange speculation. We are no short term oriented financial investors, but rather entrepreneurs with long-term goals and concepts…This is also in the interest of Germany as an industrial location, its innovative strength and competitiveness, its jobs and apprenticeships.
The company owners maintained that the strategic alliance between Schaeffler KG and Continental AG follows an industrial approach which is “as appropriate today as it was in the past.” However, the following comment made it as clear as it had ever been that the company does not see the tyre and rubber unit as its core business: “The electronic expertise of Continental and the mechanical expertise of Schaeffler complement each other ideally in order to bring together two German world market leaders in an alliance capable of playing a major role in developing the automobile of the future.”