On Tuesday, 27 September 2022, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck opened the WindEnergy 2022 trade fair in Hamburg with the words "The importance of wind energy and the expansion of renewable energies as a whole is more urgent and important today than ever before". On the same day, the Kaiserslautern District Court grants the insolvency petition of the Heger Group, which specializes in components for wind turbines. How does that fit together? The connecting element is energy.
Twenty years ago, the family-owned company HegerGuss started producing castings for wind turbines. "With the expansion of wind power, a good opportunity suddenly opened up for series-produced hand-moulded castings. We saw great potential in this new market," says Managing Director Johannes Heger. Most recently, the group expanded to include the independent foundry HegerFerrit in Sembach, where cast components in the weight class of up to 30 tons can be produced in series, especially for wind turbines. However, since late summer, the Heger Group has hardly received any orders for these wind turbines. "Although the political course has been set, the approval situation in Germany is different," explains Heger. "Action doesn't stop when it's in the papers, but when it's done."
However, the reason for the insolvency application of the group of companies with 120 years of tradition is not only the lack of orders, but above all the exploding energy costs. Electricity costs alone have increased sevenfold in the last few months, and that is not the end of the story. The company can only pass on this increase to customers to a limited extent. Although the federal government has signaled understanding for the energy-intensive companies and promised help, nothing has reached the companies so far. An industrial electricity price or financial aid that will not take effect for several months is of little use to the Heger Group. With insolvency in self-administration, Johannes Heger pulls the ripcord. The aim is to reorganize the company and make it sustainably competitive in the long term. If this does not succeed, Germany will lose another company that is urgently needed in the supply chain for the energy transition.
Other foundries in Germany feel the same way as the Heger Group. As the Federal Association of the German Foundry Industry (BDG) has been warning since the beginning of the year, the first insolvency proceedings have already been filed and some companies have even closed. "When Mr. Habeck demands that the expansion of renewable energies in our country must be accelerated significantly, then politics must now immediately ensure through concrete and quickly effective measures that there are still companies in Germany to produce components for wind turbines and the like," demands Max Schumacher, Managing Director of the BDG. The association has been appealing to politicians for months to introduce an industrial electricity price or an energy price cap as a short-term measure to relieve the energy-intensive foundry industry. Schumacher calls for action: "German SMEs no longer have time to continue discussing measures. Now is the time to act".
About the Federal Association of the German Foundry Industry e.V.
The Federal Association of the German Foundry Industry (BDG) in Düsseldorf was founded in 2008 and represents the interests of about 600 iron, steel and non-ferrous metal foundries in Germany. The companies employ around 70,000 people. The German foundry industry is one of the most important supplier industries for vehicle, machine and plant construction.