The faltering economic engine is now also noticeable at leading companies in Styria: AHT Cooling Systems in Rottenmann is cutting 75 jobs, the window manufacturer Gaulhofer from Ubelbach 50.
AHT’s headquarters in Rottenmann employs 900 people, making the manufacturer of plug-in refrigerators and freezers one of the most important employers in the region. But on Thursday, the company announced it would lay off 75 workers, affecting both the plant and its administration.
“This decision was not easy for us and we have taken a number of measures to retain as many of our employees as possible, even in these challenging times,” said Martin Krutz, General Manager of the AHT Group. But “dramatic price increases in recent years and ongoing political uncertainties” led to a sharp fall in investment by key customers. Cost-cutting measures were already taken in the previous year, “but the hoped-for effects are only hesitantly underway due to the low capacity utilization.”
AHT supplies supermarkets, discounters, ice cream and beverage manufacturers worldwide. Krutz: “We are working intensively on expanding our product portfolio and on acquiring new customers worldwide and are confident that we will be back to our old strength in the foreseeable future.”
Gaulhofer: 50 employees have to go
On Tuesday, the window manufacturer Gaulhofer from Uebelbach announced the reduction of 50 employees (from about 300) at a company meeting. The situation in the industry is dramatic: the drop in orders is up to 40 percent.
Due to stricter credit rules, sharply increased energy prices and high inflation, private housing has collapsed and too little is being renovated – the Gaulhofer management also blames “unattractive subsidy conditions” in the main markets Austria and Germany. The Styrian company proposes a renovation offensive with higher subsidies as an immediate support for the window industry.
Short-time work is currently not a problem
Due to the current legal regulations, short-time working is only possible again in the autumn. “It is with a heavy heart that we unfortunately have to cut about 50 jobs,” says general manager Thomas Braschel. Once the market eases, people will be hired again. Despite the difficult circumstances, Gaulhofer is continuing to invest in production and expanding the range.
I’m Ben Stock, a journalist and author at Today Times Live. I specialize in economic news and have been working in the news industry for over five years. My experience spans from local journalism to international business reporting. In my career I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s leading economists and financial experts, giving me an insight into global trends that is unique among journalists.