Joint Press Information - Free for release after 2.30 p.m. on May 5, 2017
State secretary Machnig calling for consensus by all parties involved on Grammer’s future
▪ Visit to Grammer’s production facility in Haselmühl by State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy
▪ Talks with employee representatives and the Executive Board on the possible consequences of the Hastor family’s activities
▪ Concerns over the company’s future and jobs
▪ Machnig urging all parties to agree on a viable solution in conjunction with the employees
Amberg / Berlin, May 5, 2017 – Today, Friday, Matthias Machnig, the State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, visited the Haselmühl plant operated by stock listed German automotive supplier Grammer. Located close to Amberg, this facility produces innovative seats and seating systems for trucks and offroad vehicles.
Focus on recent developments at Grammer
The visit to the main plant in Amberg came at a critical juncture for the company. At the company’s upcoming Annual General Meeting in May, the Hastor family will be seeking to replace several members of the Supervisory Board with candidates from its own sphere of influence. These developments have prompted Grammer’s leading customers to review their business relations with the company. They have made it clear to Grammer, the trade unions and also the press that if the Hastor family were to gain control this would have clear ramifications for future contracts.
State Secretary Matthias Machnig explained: “I am very concerned that a battle is being fought here on the employees’ backs and that the future outlook of a currently successful company is being jeopardized. We expect the principal shareholders of Grammer AG to swiftly agree on a sustainable solution with all the parties concerned to safeguard the company’s long-term viability and its market position and to protect the employees’ jobs. In particular, it is necessary to come to a consensus with the employees and customers of Grammer AG.”
In talks with employees and employee representatives, Machnig was informed of the current situation at Grammer AG and the possible consequences of changes in the shareholder structure. After a tour of the facility and talks with employees of the Commercial Vehicle division, he held discussions with the chief executive officer of Grammer AG, Hartmut Müller, and the deputy chairman of the Supervisory Board and 1st general manager of trade union IG Metall Amberg, Horst Ott, on the demands being made by Cascade International Investment GmbH for changes to Grammer’s Executive Board and Supervisory Board. Cascade would like to place several of its own representatives on the Supervisory Board in order to exert a material influence on the composition and activities of the company’s governance bodies.
Employees fear loss of jobs and are concerned at the prospects for the company
“In their recent Europe-wide action day, the Grammer Group employees expressed their clear opposition to the plans being pursued by the Hastor family. We support the strategy of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board for the Grammer Group and are opposed to the shameless and selfish action of this investor,” said Horst Ott, the deputy chairman of Grammer AG’s Supervisory Board and 1st general manager of trade union IG Metall Amberg. “Grammer is on a superb course and its employees are also benefiting from the excellent customer relations. However, we have been warned by key customers that in the light of their negative experience with the Hastor family they will be reviewing their contract awards for Grammer should Hastor gain heightened influence over the company. The loss of such contracts would pose a massive risk to our jobs. We expressly urge the Hastor family to withdraw from Grammer and to avoid placing existing jobs at risk.”
Grammer Executive Board sees growth and profitability strategy vindicated
“The recently published quarterly figures once again testify to the company’s solid performance. Although order books are currently amply filled, we are already registering some restraint on the part of our customers in the award of future new contracts,” explains Hartmut Müller, chief executive officer of Grammer AG. “The Grammer Group is pursuing a sustainable and successful strategy with the expansion of our international production and sales infrastructure combined with a clear focus on profitable growth and innovative products. To this end, we initially increased our capital spending and up-front costs substantially and have almost doubled research and development spends over the last five years. Now we are benefiting from these successful measures and have secured an outstanding position for ourselves in the international markets. The demands being made by the minority shareholder Cascade pose a risk to this strategy, the entire company and jobs as well as showing contempt for the interests of all the other shareholders.”