With his hands crossed in front of his stomach, Stefan Denkhaus is standing in a suit and fine leather shoes on the concrete floor of the almost 150-year-old FSG shipyard in Flensburg.
The fjord glistens behind him, he is looking at an almost 200 meter long ferry that should have been finished long ago if the shipyard hadn't been in financial difficulties for a long time and the corona pandemic hadn't delayed construction even further - and with it the location of the shipyard further tightened.
Employees in overalls stand on the bank, they wear helmets and make serious faces.
Almost 650 people hope that Stefan Denkhaus will save their job.
Denkhaus is an insolvency administrator, he leads companies through the crisis;
in the best case, the companies still exist afterwards.
That is why he refuses to equate bankruptcy with the term bankruptcy.
For him it is "a phase" that a company can go through.
"It's like having to go to the hospital," says Denkhaus, "you can also be released from the intensive care unit."
On this day, Denkhaus smiles satisfied when the Economics Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, the managing director and the works council of the shipyard announce that the patient can leave the intensive care unit;
thanks to the cash injection from an investor.
A good half of the 650 jobs are to be retained, maybe even more.
Denkhaus is optimistic.
It's part of his job.
He must exude confidence to convince 223 of the shipyard workers to voluntarily switch to a transfer company with an uncertain future, only then will the plan work.
A few days later they accepted the offer.
Denkhaus' work is done.
People like him could soon be very busy.
The Corona crisis affected many companies: Orders were missing, supply chains torn, factories closed.
Until the end of the year, the grand coalition extended the suspension of the obligation to file for insolvency, at least for the insolvency reason of over-indebtedness.
So far, bankruptcy has threatened above all companies that were in trouble before the crisis, such as the FSG.
But by 2021 at the latest, things will get serious: Many entrepreneurs are threatened with going to the local court.
How great the fear of it is could already be felt everywhere in the summer.
1. Face the situation
Paderborn, one day in July, it is the time of Libori, which is one of the oldest folk festivals in Germany.
As every year, top-class guests came, such as Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU).
What is not always the case: Due to the corona, only a few people sit directly across from the minister.
His speech is streamed.
In the morning, the Federal Statistical Office announced that the economy shrank by around ten percent in the second quarter compared to the first quarter.
That is "a burglary that has washed up", says Altmaier, the Federal Republic is experiencing "the worst recession" in its history.
Carsten Linnemann is also in the hall, he sits for the CDU in the Bundestag, heads the SME and Economic Union, Paderborn is his constituency.
In an interview he says that he has been in the "intensive care unit of the German economy" since March.
He sees things bleakly.
In his opinion, the slight recovery in the business climate and the positive development on the stock market do not reflect the true situation.
Linnemann warns: "A wave of bankruptcies will inevitably come, probably as early as autumn. Some of the five million short-time workers will then become unemployed. We have to use smart policies to ensure that this part does not become too big."
Then he uses a few pictures to make it clear what is still to come: "We are not standing on the mountain, but in front of it."
Or: "Many entrepreneurs paddle through the fog without knowing where the safe shore is and how they can get there."
2. Assess your own resilience
That is the problem with the Corona crisis: It is an ambush that nobody knows how long it will hurt.
"Companies mostly only try to estimate foreseeable risks such as fluctuations in the exchange rate, the risk of accidents or the shortage of skilled workers, and to prepare for them," says Alexander Stolz, who heads the safety technology department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Short-Term Dynamics in Freiburg.
But the extent of the pandemic and its effects were not to be expected.
Unlike a fire, it is difficult to insure yourself against the consequences of the pandemic.
"Now," says Stolz, "it depends on a company's general resilience."