Loewe is once again facing a financial crisis. However, the company wants to reorganize itself by means of a preliminary insolvency procedure on its own initiative.As early as the 1990s, a development began in the consumer electronics market that has determined the future path of traditional companies like loewe to this day. Asian competition is flooding into the market, fueling the creeping decline of an industry that is still struggling to hold its own in the face of cheap production and price wars. For the kronach-based company, this meant declining sales and ever-increasing uncertainty in the 00s, especially for the 1000 or so employees who were facing an uncertain future.
2010 – 2012: red figures
Although the company can be restructured, among other things through the investment by sharp (2004; 29 percent), the pressure continues to increase. When the company was in the red in 2010, it was no longer a secret after years of crisis that loewe was more than just "struggling is. While sales in 2011 were still at 274 million euros, they fell to 250 million euros in 2012. In fiscal year 2012, the loss was 29 million euros. The company suffers increasingly from the price war in the industry; the situation is exacerbated, among other things, by the fact that the trend toward flat screens was recognized too late.
2013: path to insolvency
The company also got off to a weak start in 2013. In the spring, the company is shocked with the news that half of the share capital will soon be exhausted. 180 of the approximately 1000 jobs will be eliminated. In july, loewe AG files for creditor protection for itself and its subsidiary loewe opta. A so-called protective shield procedure (pre-insolvency procedure) is opened. Loewe initially protected from enforcement proceedings and compulsory seizures by creditors. The management board can remain in office and the company retains its ability to act. This protective shield is effective for three months, by which time the company must reach an agreement with its creditors and draw up a reorganization plan.
Kronach is putting out its feelers, especially on the asian market: the result is a strategic partnership with the chinese electronics manufacturer hisense. In august 2013, the capital is reduced by a ratio of 4:1 – the share capital of the AG is reduced by 75 percent to 3.25 million euros. This should enable an investor to acquire a majority stake in loewe. In the fall, loewe announces restructuring measures that will have to be accompanied by job cuts. Around 150 jobs affected.
Ultimately, the planned insolvency will follow in the fall. The coburg insolvency court agrees to insolvency in self-administration. Business operations are continued, a restructuring process is initiated, and discussions with investors are pursued.
2014: new beginning
At the beginning of 2014, loewe announces that it has reached an agreement with the investor group of former apple manager jan gesmar-larsen – in february, the investor company panthera unexpectedly pulls out of the deal. In march 2014, an investor is finally found in the form of stargate capital gmbh, and a purchase agreement can be concluded with the shareholders mark husges and boris levin from munich.
The business operations of loewe AG including the subsidiary loewe opta gmbh (including production) will be continued, leaving 525 employees. Initially, 95 jobs will be cut, but 50 employees will be taken back by the newly founded company loewe technologies gmbh.
The decision is made to produce all new machines in kronach in the future. As part of the renewal of the product range, two new lines are launched in 2014. At the end of 2014, the balance sheet is positive. There is talk of a "successful new start".
2015 – 2017: commitment to the site
In the years to come, managing partner husges will continue to be committed to the kronach site and to the "made in germany" label as a sign of strong. In 2015, he says in an interview: "the goal is to remain profitable in the business years. How far loewe is from this remains unclear. "It is crucial that we see growth and a presence in the market again. We are on the right track, husges says at the time.
Since loewe is no longer a listed company, business figures are published with a time lag. Only in 2017 do we learn some figures from the federal gazette. Sales then rose by 23 percent in 2016 to around 134 million euros. This is also accompanied by positive news: the TV manufacturer expects to be back in the black four years after going bankrupt.
2018 – today: search for investors
2018 the positive forecasts initially come true. However, the company is suffering from a general slump in the television industry. For the months of june, july and august, loewe has therefore applied for short-time work for the 121 employees in production.
Husges to withdraw from operational business at the end of 2018. The co-owner and previous managing shareholder moves to the newly created loewe advisory board, whose task, according to husges, is to find investors. Even though a short-term loan was taken out in 2018 by the financing partner bright capital, the company is still looking for a long-term partner.
New chairman of the board is ralf vogt. In 2019, vogt announces a new partnership: after hisense (since 2013) and LG display (since 2015), toyoichi tshusho joins as a japanese partner with whom loewe intends to collaborate on the supply of essential electronic components. In march, vogt also announced the spin-off of the current production area into a separate company as the next step in a rough concept for the future. However, the 115-employee company is to remain under the umbrella of the loewe group.
In the course of the announced fundamental restructuring within the company, however, around 10 percent of the 350 employees remaining in the loewe technologies company could be affected by staff reductions.