Semperit braces for activity decrease

Semperit boss Thomas Fahnemann has said he expected next year to be “significantly more difficult”.

Fahnemann told the Kurier today (Tues) the economy would not suffer as dramatically as in 2009. However, the German businessman warned that the economic environment might worsen next year compared to 2011. Semperit is a leading manufacturer of medical gloves, industrial hoses and conveyor belts. The enterprise sold its tyre production department to German company Continental in 1985.

The former RHI AG chief said Semperit wanted to become market leader in manufacturing medical gloves by 2015. He explained that strong production increases were needed to achieve this target since the overall production of these products was expected to soar by 50 billion to 200 billion within the coming four years.

Fahnemann said his company, which runs a factory in Wimpassing and has an office in Vienna, would focus on training young employees if a potential worsening of the current crisis led to a decline in orders. He stressed that Semperit – which achieved a profit of 41 million Euros in the first three quarters of 2011 – struggled to find well-educated and trained new staff.

Meanwhile, Austria’s leading economic research institutes warned that the domestic economy would grow less strongly than initially predicted.

The Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) announced last week it expected Austria’s gross domestic product (GDP) to rise by 0.8 per cent from this to next year. Only three months ago, the group forecast an improvement of 1.3 per cent, 0.8 per cent less than predicted in July.

The Institute for Economic Research (WIFO) announced in July that the domestic economy had chances to soar by 1.8 per cent from the current to the next year. WIFO corrected its outlook to 0.8 per cent in September before it said last week that the Austrian economy would improve by not more than 0.4 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

IHS pointed out that there was “great uncertainty” everywhere considering the future of the economy. WIFO announced last week the Eurozone – which consists of 17 European Union (EU) members including Austria – was also doing badly due to delayed decision-making and mistakes of state and government leaders. WIFO said the Eurozone’s average GDP would stagnate in 2012 but ruled out that Europe’s finance institutes could soon reduce the volume of credits they provided to enterprises.

WIFO warned that more people would have no job in Austria in 2012 than in 2011. IHS explained it expected their number to rise by 10,000. With a jobless rate of around four per cent, Austria is the EU’s model pupil in this concern. However, several industrial leaders and businesspeople complained about a shortage of high-skilled workers, technicians and engineers available in Austria before Fahnemann addressed the matter in today’s interview.