Schmidt + Clemens (S+C), the special steel specialist based in Lindlar, Germany, has today presented its business figures for the last financial year. Despite falling raw material prices, the Group still succeeded in increasing its sales by five percent to €291.0 million.
The trend of recent years continued in 2015: The Group earned all of its profit from its operations outside of Germany. The Spanish subsidiary, Schmidt-Clemens Spain, the new plant in Malaysia and S+C Alfanametal contributed strongly to the result. “Massive rises in wage costs, high taxes and levies and continuing hikes in energy costs are key reasons why the whole of our investment in Germany is now for maintenance only,” declares partner and CEO Jan Schmidt-Krayer. “Most of our investment now goes to our foreign subsidiaries, though this appears to be a matter of indifference to both politicians and trade unions here.”
The year under review was marked in particular by the debt crisis in the euro area, sharply falling raw material prices, and significant cuts in investment in the oil and gas industry. The fact that the S+C Group nevertheless achieved a satisfactory result was due to the good product mix and a broadening in the business activities to include upstream and downstream processes.
The year 2016 will be dominated by measures aimed at fostering further growth in the S+C Group. A main focus will be on ensuring a high level of utilisation of the enlarged capacities at the foreign plants. The introduction of a new manufacturing execution system (MES) at the Group parent plant will support and simplify the complex operating procedures. S+C is preparing itself for ongoing difficult times ahead. The low price of crude is continuing to impact on the oil industry’s willingness to invest. Replacement investment is being deferred, while there is virtually no talk at all of new petrochemical plants.“The business slowdown in the petrochemicals sector has forced us to revise our ambitious goals for 2016 downwards,” Schmidt-Krayer explains.
Schmidt-Krayer is horrified by the current wage negotiations: “Since the year 2000, the collectively agreed wages in Germany have risen by around 50 percent, more than in practically any other industry. With its current demand for a 5 percent pay increase, the IG Metall union is doing the opposite of helping to secure jobs in Germany.”
Altogether, the Schmidt + Clemens Group employs some 1,000 people worldwide (including around 600 in Germany) and, in addition to the parent plant in Germany, also has production operations in Spain, the UK, the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Saudi-Arabia.
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