Sartorius responds to downturn in demand in its Mechatronics Division

Short-time work at the beginning of 2009 planned at Goettingen-based German headquarters

17-Dec-2008 - Germany

Because of the substantial downturn in demand for weighing and control technology products, Sartorius AG is adapting its production capacity in the Mechatronics Division and cutting costs. While global order intake for the division had shown good development up through October 2008, it was around 15 percent lower in November than a year ago. December has also been showing relatively weak development so far. The current decline in business for the Mechatronics Division is expected to have only a limited impact on consolidated earnings for 2008.

“Our mechatronics business is invariably affected by fluctuations in economic activity. Nevertheless, the impact of the economic crisis was not yet discernible in the third-quarter figures when they were announced,” said Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg, CEO and Executive Board Chairman of Sartorius AG, about the recent business development. “Since November, however, we have been feeling the effects our customers’ substantial reluctance to purchase and are gearing up to face the difficult first months of 2009. We are responding swiftly and systematically to the changing underlying economic conditions in order to quickly overcome the economic crisis.“

In the Mechatronics Division, capacity is to be adapted by reducing flextime hours accumulated and using up annual leave by the end of 2008. As of January 2009, Sartorius intends to initiate short-time work for the employees of the Mechatronics Division, i.e., a temporary reduction of work hours and earnings, and to reduce work hours in administration as well. The company is currently negotiating the corresponding labor-management contracts with employee representatives. Approximately 1,000 people at Sartorius headquarters in Goettingen will be affected. The Executive Board members and executive staff announced that they would participate in these cost-reduction measures by foregoing portions of their salaries. Currently, cost-cutting measures are being implemented at further international sites of the Mechatronics Division.

Business development in the second Sartorius division, Biotechnology, continues to remain stable. The division’s major customer group, the biopharmaceutical industry, is less susceptible to economic fluctuations, as experience has shown.

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