About two weeks ago, concept laser held a staff meeting at which the current economic situation was a topic of discussion. According to trustworthy sources, this also involved the issue of redundancies.
Yesterday there was another "internal information", the press office of the company confirmed to our newspaper. There are to be changes, but no concrete figures could be given. "Given the unprecedented impact of covid-19 on the manufacturing industry, particularly the commercial aerospace industry, we are taking steps to streamline our business and ensure GE additive’s long-term strength. We appreciate the commitment of all our employees in these difficult times and regret that we have to take these measures", the statement from there is. Sentences from other companies, also from the region, announcing layoffs sounded similar to this.
Short-time work used
It is not surprising that the economic problems resulting from the corona pandemic would not leave the company unscathed. Short-time work has already been used in recent months to compensate for the drop in orders.
In order to understand this, one has to make some excursions. On the new company premises, the sign at the entrance no longer indicates that the company is still basically concept laser, as many lichtenfels residents still refer to it colloquially. They are not wrong about that either.
"GE additive" it says, a reference to the large american corporation general electric. Its roots go back to thomas alva edison, the inventor of the light bulb, which he also patented. In order to bundle his business activities, he founded the edison general electric company in the u.S. In 1890, which became the nucleus for general electric. Over the decades, many business areas were added. Today, GE employs more than 200,000 people worldwide and is a conglomerate active in the fields of energy, health care, finance and transportation.
GE additive is a 2016 startup, a company that brings together all additive manufacturing activities. In the same year, GE also bought 75 percent of concept laser, with 25 percent remaining in the herzog family. Frank herzog, co-founder of the company in 2000, initially remained on board as managing director. The family had decided to sell the company because it was growing rapidly and could no longer manage this expansion on its own, according to the owners at the time.
For GE, this was the first important step in building up the new division, as its own expertise in this field was rather limited. But it was seen as a promising investment, which was also reflected in the purchase price. 549 million euros were put on the table for the 75 percent share. Efforts had previously been made unsuccessfully to gain a stake in SLM, a 3D printing specialist based in lubeck, germany. The acquisition of a majority shareholding in the swedish company arcam a little later in 2017 is also said to have involved a similar sum, around 610 million euros. The entrance was built by general electric’s aerospace division "GE aviation" which also clearly shows the dependence of GE additive on the industry.
Herzogs had it contractually stipulated that GE would invest around 100 million euros in the construction of an enlarged new site in lichtenfels. There were no longer any suitable expansion areas at the previous site in lichtenfels schney.
This building was erected in the commercial area in lichtenfels-seubelsdorf, directly at the junction of the B 173 from the A 73. September 2019 was the official inauguration, even though the building had not yet been completed. It is to provide space for up to 700 employees. Currently 500 people are employed there. Concept laser moves in stages.
Frank herzog retired from the company as managing director practically at the same time as the opening of the new complex, but as co-owner he continues to be informed about what is going on there.
Optimism no longer seems to be the order of the day at GE in general. In the trade magazine mission-additive.De recently appeared a report that GE the value of its new division "additive" the company, which in addition to the plants in lichtenfels and sweden also includes research centers in munich and ohio (USA) and the molten metal powder manufacturer AP&C (canada). The so-called "goodwill, the intangible value of a company, in simplified terms the sum of tangible assets and licenses, was burdened by impairment costs of 877 million u.S. Dollars, more than half of what GE had once paid for concept laser and arcam alone, writes mission-additive.De and concludes that GE probably believes it has spent too much money on building up the new division.
However, the reduction in value was triggered by the corona pandemic.