Bystronic glass wants to bundle its forces and expertise in order to ensure the long-term competitiveness. In Germany, the group of companies is planning to merge the production of machines and plants for the specialist field of architectural glass at the Neuhausen-Hamberg location. At the same time, Bystronic glass wants to streamline its industrial activities and plans to cease manufacturing machinery for architectural glass cutting that has been performed at the Bützberg (Switzerland) location to date. However, it will continue to offer service support and replacement parts for existing plants. Bystronic glass intends to continue manufacturing machines and plants for automotive glass preprocessing at the Swiss location. The planned reorganisation of the immediately affected locations may lead to the cutting or relocation of jobs. Bystronic glass has initiated consultations with the social partners and started negotiations with regard to a redundancy scheme. In carrying out this planned reorganisation, the Bystronic glass Group wants to increase flexibility and clout in their core competencies architectural glass and automotive glass. In addition a cooperation with the German glass machine manufacturer Hegla shall contribute to this.
- It is intended that the architectural glass cutting currently located in Bützberg will cease operating. It is expected that the engineering, manufacture and sale of machines for this sector will cease at the end of March 2012. It is envisaged that service support and replacement parts for existing plants will continue to be offered.
- In order to continue to offer customers the complete range of products, Bystronic glass and the German glass machine manufacturer Hegla intend to establish a partnership. The aim of this partnership is to work together on the product and market side. Furthermore, both parties intend to treat the other party as a preferred partner and to join forces when dealing with customers who commission large-scale projects.
- It is envisaged that the engineering, sale, assembly and servicing of machines and plants for the preprocessing of automotive glass will continue to take places at the Bützberg location.
- It is expected that all Bystronic Armatec GmbH activities will be relocated from Gunzenhausen (Germany) to Neuhausen-Hamberg (Germany) to become part of Bystronic Lenhardt GmbH from mid-2012.
- The planned reorganisation at both of the immediately affected production locations may lead to the cutting or relocation of jobs. It is expected that up to 60 positions will be cut at Bystronic Maschinen AG in Bützberg and up to 60 positions at Bystronic Armatec GmbH are to be relocated from Gunzenhausen to Neuhausen-Hamberg.
- The Bystronic glass Group Global Sales and Service Organisation will remain unaltered. This organisation will continue to nurture close relationships with the customers in the most important markets and offer a premium service 24 hours a day.
- Bystronic Laser AG, which has its headquarters in Niederönz (Switzerland) and is independent from Bystronic glass from an organisational and financial perspective, is not affected by the planned measures. Bystronic is a worldwide active supplier of high-quality machines and systems for the economical processing of sheet metal and other flat materials.
High competitive pressure in global markets
As a provider of premium systems for the processing of architectural and automotive glass, Bystronic glass operates in markets that are highly competitive and susceptible to economic pressures. André Brütsch, CEO at Bystronic glass, says: “The insecure economic prospects have diminished the willingness of many customers to invest or replace. This has had a very negative impact upon our incoming orders for an extended period of time now.”
In addition to this, there are also global overcapacities in the laminated glass business section. In combination with falling glass prices, this leads to a simultaneous high level of cost pressure and drop in margins throughout the entire sector and at Bystronic glass. André Brütsch: “The competition for each order is extremely high and the margins are correspondingly unsatisfactory. In order to remain competitive, we must reduce our prices at the expense of our yield.”
The strong Swiss Franc has also lead to competitive disadvantages, especially for Bystronic Maschinen AG in Bützberg, which operates out of Switzerland. Over the course of the last 18 months, the prices of the export products have risen by approximately 15% solely as a result of the exchange rate development.
Painful yet necessary measures
The planned measures are based upon detailed and comprehensive market surveys. André Brütsch, CEO at Bystronic glass, says: “With the announced measures and streamlining of the business sections, we wish to further expand our market leadership in the fields of insulating glass, laminated glass, handling equipment and automotive glass. “It is envisaged that the company and production structure will become more flexible as a result. André Brütsch: “The measures announced today are painful yet necessary. Focusing upon our core competencies will enable us to continue to offer our customers innovative solutions and products.”
Planned job cuts at the affected locations
The planned reorganisation at both of the immediately affected production locations in Switzerland and Germany may lead to the cutting or relocation of jobs. It is expected that up to 60 positions will be cut at Bystronic Maschinen AG in Bützberg and up to 60 positions at Bystronic Armatec GmbH in Gunzenhausen will be relocated to Neuhausen-Hamberg.
In the medium-term, it may be the case that selective workforce adjustments will also have to be carried out at the Neuhausen-Hamberg location in Germany. Merging of production to one German location will enable synergies to be utilised and overlapping to be eliminated. Together with the cost reduction programme already in place, this may lead to workforce adjustments.
Consultation process initiated, redundancy scheme being negotiated
Bystronic glass has informed employees, social partners and the authorities at the different locations as well as customers about the reorganisation. The consultation process with the social partners has been initiated and negotiations with regard to a redundancy scheme have started.
Foundations for the future
As a result of the reorganisation, the operational headquarter of the Bystronic glass Group is to be relocated from Switzerland to Germany. With the planned reorganisation in Europe and together with the production location in Shanghai (China) that has been established in recent years, Bystronic glass wishes to retain and further expand its market leadership in the core competencies of architectural glass (insulating glass, laminated glass, handling equipment) and automotive glass.
With the bundling of forces and the concentration of the locations, the company wishes to become more flexible and stronger in order to be able to serve its customers even better with premium products and services.