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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Steyr Motors fights for economic survival

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Large engines for boats and special vehicles in small series
Image: Eder
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This news came as a surprise on Wednesday. The new owner of Steyr Motors writes in a media release “of a precarious economic situation” that makes resizing unavoidable. The top priority is to ensure the survivability of Steyr Motors.

There’s fire on the roof. The plant, which develops high-performance diesel engines and builds them in very small series, currently employs 125 people. They have experienced very mixed years. Apparently, a report to the labor market service is currently being prepared according to the early warning system. This is necessary if a major downsizing is imminent.

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The most recent change of ownership was only completed in November 2022. The listed Mutares SE has taken over from the armaments group Thales. The fund buys companies “in transition”. A few months ago, Steyr Motors did not see itself as a case for restructuring. A massive drop in sales in 2022 is given as the reason for the current escalation – with sharply increased costs. However, because some of the products are used in military vehicles, this is currently not entirely understandable. It was recently reported that development contracts from a pan-European defense fund could be won.

If there was an insolvency, it would not be the first. A restructuring procedure was registered in November 2018. This could not be completed successfully. Bankruptcy followed. Then there was a bidding competition between the Graz engine developer AVL and the French Thales group. When asked yesterday, it was said that “everything would be done” to prevent another bankruptcy. However, the options for action are severely limited.

Turbulent history

The company emerged from Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and developed an extremely powerful direct injection diesel engine. First Frank bought Stronachs Magna – at that time still based in St. Valentin. In 2001 there was a management buyout by ex-nationalized minister and ÖIAG boss Rudolf Streicher and manager Rudolf Mandorfer. In 2012, the two sold to the Chinese investor Phoenix Tree. Thales took over in July 2019.

Source: Nachrichten

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