Expert sees black for schlecker

Expert sees black for schlecker

In the study, which is available to the dpa news agency, the auditing company pricewaterhousecoopers (pwc) also considers continued operation on its own to be difficult in view of many unprofitable stores. Contradiction came from the preliminary insolvency administrator arndt geiwitz, who continues to believe in a future for schlecker.

"The search for investors is going absolutely according to plan. First further offers have already been received," said his spokesman on monday. "We also consider the reorganization and continuation to be demanding but feasible," he added.

Lower saxony’s economics minister jorg bode (FDP) called on monday for all previous considerations regarding the future of the insolvent drugstore chain schlecker to be revisited in light of the experts’ findings. According to earlier reports, schlecker currently still has around 25,000 employees in germany. 11,000 of them will lose their jobs in the next few days because of the insolvency. On saturday, schlecker had closed 2200 stores; the company now wants to save itself with a store network that has shrunk by 40 percent.

However, pwc considers the plans of the preliminary insolvency administrator arndt geiwitz to be too optimistic in central points. The personnel costs, in particular, are underestimated, while the expected earnings are "burdened with uncertainties and/or uncertainties of the future. Only very limited resilience" is possible. The concept with which geiwitz wants to make schlecker profitable again on its own without an investor is therefore very challenging. Thus, for the period april to december 2012, losses are again expected for the drugstore stores, although at the same time money is needed for the "necessary comprehensive reorganization of the remaining parts of the company".

So an investor was urgently needed. But although geiwitz repeatedly speaks of interest from investors, pwc is cautious on this point.

The 11,000 employees who already had their last regular working day on saturday, on the other hand, can at least partially hope for the future. A transfer company is to be set up so that they do not fall abruptly into unemployment. Pwc considers the risk that the federal states will take with the necessary state guarantee of 70 million euros to be "still acceptable".

The danger was not insignificant, as the future of the drugstore chain was uncertain, PWC explained. Repayment of the loans via earnings from current operations would be "associated with a high degree of uncertainty". If schlecker sells its companies in spain and france, the drugstore chain should be able to pay back the loan.

In view of these results, lower saxony’s economics minister bode wrote a letter to his colleagues in the federal states urging them to reconsider the fundamental issues involved. Even the experts did not assume that it would be possible to repay the loan after six months on the basis of continued operations. If necessary, a loan reduced by half could also be sufficient to ensure financing of the transfer companies. "With such a reduced volume, it will be easier to agree to a verburgung in the result,…."

The final decision on the foundation of the transfer company will be made this wednesday. Baden-wurttemberg will then decide whether to make an advance payment of around 70 million euros, paving the way for the transfer company. However, finance minister nils schmid (SPD) had called on the other states to declare in writing their willingness to share in the financial risks afterwards. A joint approach by all federal states had previously failed.

As of monday, however, there had only been concrete commitments from hamburg, saarland, bremen, berlin and rhineland-palatinate. This tuesday, schleswig-holstein, saxony-anhalt, mecklenburg-western pomerania, bavaria and thuringia will decide. North rhine-westphalia, brandenburg and berlin were wait-and-see states. Saxony, lower saxony and hesse are considered to be rather skeptical.

In a transfer company, employees were expected to receive 80 percent of their last net salary for up to six months. In addition, they were prepared for new positions in further training courses.

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