2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The Chairman of the Continental Supervisory Board has resigned from his position. This has escalated the power struggle with major shareholder Schaeffler.
The power struggle between Continental and major shareholder Schaeffler is escalating. In the dispute with Schaeffler, Conti supervisory board chairman Hubertus von Grünberg resigned from his office with immediate effect. "It is becoming apparent that Continental will continue to suffer," said the 66-year-old on Friday in Frankfurt after a meeting of the automotive supplier's supervisory board. "We run the risk of being drawn into the Schaeffler problem." Von Grünberg criticized that the badly ailing Schaeffler Group had failed to meet the demand for a sustainable future concept and instead went on a confrontational course.
The Franconian auto supplier Schaeffler is heavily indebted because of the credit-funded Conti takeover, has billions in capital requirements and is asking for billions in government aid.
Schaeffler rejects allegations
Schaeffler rejected the Grünbergs' allegations. Grünberg has lost confidence in the supervisory board, said a Schaeffler spokesman in Herzogenaurach. The discussion of a future concept was not at all on the agenda at the meeting in Frankfurt. Schaeffler is still working flat out on this paper.
In response to pressure from Schaeffler, von Grünberg announced at the end of January that he would make his post available. But he should remain a simple member of the committee. This was a compromise between Schaeffler and Conti. Schaeffler no longer wanted von Grünberg to remain on the supervisory board. His name was missing from the list for the future composition of the body, which is to be voted on at the general meeting on April 23.
Originally the Schaeffler consultant Rolf Koerfer was to be elected as the new Conti supervisory board chairman on Friday. The 51-year-old was not allowed to attend the meeting. Shareholders accused him of having a conflict of interest. Thereupon the regional court of Hanover temporarily suspended Koerfer's appointment to the supervisory board by the local court. The district court now wants to make a final decision as soon as all statements of the parties are available. The Conti supervisory boards have until March 10 to comment.
In politics, meanwhile, there is increasing skepticism about state aid. Federal Minister of Economics Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) told the "WirtschaftsWoche": "We will not let ourselves be put under pressure with threatening scenarios and without answers alone." As with Opel, there is currently no concept that could serve as a basis for decision-making.
Instead, Guttenberg brought up bankruptcy as an alternative. Insolvency does not automatically mean the downfall of a company: "If the business model has a promising future, insolvency can also keep jobs." Schaeffler holds just under 50 percent of Conti, and another 40 percent is parked at banks. In the industry it is expected that the banks will soon take control of the Herzogenauracher Group. In addition, it cannot be ruled out that the banks will reverse the entire Conti takeover.
The trade unions IG Metall and IG BCE demanded a “coherent and viable future concept” from Conti and Schaeffler. The yardstick is securing jobs. "Filleting" by Continental and the Schaeffler Group is not acceptable. (dpa)
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