LOEWE ceases operation

Author: Thomas Wandler
Date: 01.07.2019

Closure 96 years after company foundation

The German television manufacturer LOEWE is discontinuing its business operations 96 years after the company was founded on 1 July this year. This was announced on Tuesday afternoon. According to managing director Ralf Vogt, the company must “temporarily be put to a standstill at the lowest cost”. More than 400 employees are affected.

A manager had previously given the employees hope – but the company was now denied the necessary loan by the creditors. “Unfortunately, unlike with our customers and suppliers, we were unable to find the necessary support from our security creditors to maintain our operational business in the form of a mass loan,” says Loewe managing director Ralf Vogt.

In particular, the financial investor Riverrock, which has been LOEWE’s most important financial supporter for several years with a loan in the mid two-digit million range, is criticised. According to IG-Metall boss Johann Horn, Riverrock waits until “LOEWE has finally bled out, only to earn money with the ruins of the company afterwards”.

With the closure of the plant, the investor could “pick out the parts of the company he wants for a new start and offer the employees contracts with lower wages and worse working conditions”, IG Metall blames the investor. Riverrock has already pursued such a strategy with the kitchen manufacturer Alno. The creditor invested in the company in 2017 after announcing its insolvency and continued the business with significantly fewer employees at significantly worse conditions.

Already bankrupt in 2013

The closure of the business is not a surprise. The television manufacturer already filed for insolvency in 2013 and was rescued at the last moment by the takeover of Munich-based financial investor Stargate Capital. Shortly afterwards, however, Stargate Capital needed support to keep the company afloat.

The traditional company was no longer successful. With comparatively expensive and sophisticated equipment, LOEWE covered a niche market in entertainment technology – while televisions became cheaper and better.

The responsible persons had whitewashed the situation up to the end. At the beginning of May LOEWE also had to inform the press after filing for bankruptcy in court. However, the word “insolvency” was not used once. Instead, an optimistic and exuberant statement was made by managing director Vogt.