17. September 2009
Like all steel companies, ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar mbH (ROGESA) is struggling in the face of extremely difficult economic framework conditions attributable to the international economic and financial crisis.
The significant slump in demand has given rise to overcapacities on the world-wide coke market. As coking plants – unlike other plants – can not simply be run up or shut down depending on demand and production can at best be throttled by a mere 30%, very large volumes of coke have been produced in the past few months by Cokes de Carling (approx. 500,000 tonnes to date) at extremely high cost (capital commitment of 0.5 million euros per day) and exclusively as stocks. Against this backdrop, ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar spent several months in the period leading up to 31 August 2009 looking for a buyer for Cokes de Carling SAS (CdC) willing to pay a symbolic price of 1 euro. The primary goal was to secure jobs over the long term on the basis of a sound concept. Both ROGESA and the Managing Director of Cokes de Carling did everything they could during the course of their intensive search for potential buyers. They conducted the appropriate negotiations providing detailed information on the technical condition of the coking plant as well as the situation relating to production costs. The deadline was extended to 15 September 2009 in the hope of finding a solution. There were in fact several promising scenarios which unfortunately did not materialise. None of the potential buyers was prepared to or capable of guaranteeing the continuation of coking activities and employment of the workforce. As no acceptable or promising takeover bid is available following expiry of the new deadline, there is now no alternative but to shut down Cokes de Carling. The coking plant in Carlingen was to have been shut down 5 years ago. Following the takeover in 2004, ROGESA held out the prospect of operating the coking plant for at least 5 years. During the course of these five years, extensive investments were made in the plant and maintenance thereof. Thanks to the commitment of the shareholders and exemplary attitude and performance displayed by the workforce, there was justified hope that Cokes de Carling could be operated over the long term - which would have been possible from a technical aspect. The international economic and financial crisis however has had a unique effect on the steel industry in Europe and also in Saarland resulting in correspondingly low demand. Cokes de Carling has a total of about 400 employees, about 240 of whom are former employees of Charbonnages de France and able to fall back on the prevailing social plan maintained by the French mining industry at any time. The remaining about 160 employees joined CdC over the past five years. ROGESA strives to shut the plant down within the next four weeks and is willing to support the shutdown in the form of fair social plan measures as well as guaranteeing financing thereof. The social plan is to be agreed with the social partners in the Works Council meeting on 21 September. ROGESA Roheisengesellschaft Saar mbh in Dillingen is a joint subsidiary of AG der Dillinger Hüttenwerke (Dillinger Hütte) in Dillingen and Saarstahl AG in Völklingen (each holding a 50% direct and indirect share). ROGESA was established in 1981 and produced in 2008 an annual volume of 4.357 tonnes for the steelwork of Dillinger Hütte and the steelwork of Saarstahl.
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