Berlin (dpa) - The spread of the novel corona virus forces companies worldwide to act. The epidemic is already having an impact on businesses. An overview of current industry news around the contagion wave - as of February 27:
LOCATION IN CHINA: German and other European companies in the People's Republic are experiencing the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. "The overall impact is bad," said the German and European Chamber of Commerce in China after a survey among its member companies. Almost 90 percent reported “moderate to severe effects” from the lung disease. Due to the crisis, almost every second company expects a double-digit percentage drop in revenues in the first half of the year - a quarter even expect a decline of more than 20 percent. A good third therefore already has problems with its financial flows.
AUTO INDUSTRY: The new type of corona virus is noticeable for car manufacturers in China. "We are seeing the first negative effects in the market due to Covid-19," said Hildegard Müller, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), on Thursday. In China, the market shrank in January by 20 percent compared to the same month in the previous year. But that is also due to the fact that there were fewer sales days due to the New Year celebration. For this year, the association had assumed a minus of two percent. Now a scenario with minus seven percent is calculated because of the virus.
ECONOMIC CONCERNS: German industry sees the corona virus as a "stress test" for the economy and fears consequences for the economy. The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) called on the federal government to coordinate economic policy. "In addition to health protection, politics must now also focus on economic crisis management," said CEO Joachim Lang. Some supply chains with a strong China focus would not currently pass the stress test. The more than 5000 German companies in China are severely restricted in procurement, production and sales.
The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that, in an already weakened economic situation in Germany, the spread of the corona virus could become a “real economic inhibitor”. Even now, the internationally strongly networked German export industry is already feeling that the corona virus is weighing on global trade and that numerous companies are holding back their investments at many locations.
TOURISM: The German travel industry is preparing for a difficult year in view of the corona virus. The Germans are in a holiday mood. "But we are seeing increasing uncertainty among customers," said Norbert Fiebig, president of the DRV industry association. Especially when it comes to trips to Asia, there is a reluctance to book. The industry hopes that the reservations will be made up later with a strong last-minute deal. "The longer the crisis lasts, the more the travel industry will be affected," said Fiebig. So far, business has been slow.
TRAVEL FAIR ITB: The world's largest show in the tourism industry (March 4 to 8) is under scrutiny. The crisis team of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Interior of Germany wants to deal with the effects of the Corona outbreak on the ITB in Berlin this Friday. Health protection and economic interests would have to be weighed, said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). The trade fair operators had announced that exhibitors who had been in the respective risk areas in China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 14 days were not allowed on the site.
GENEVA WATCH FAIR: The Swiss Watchmaking Foundation has canceled the Geneva watch fair “Watches and Wonders” (planned April 25-29) due to the corona virus crisis. The next planned date is therefore not until spring 2021. Last year, more than 23,000 visitors came to Geneva for the fair. The industry get-together is not the only canceled show: According to the "m + a Messemedien" specialist service, 230 trade fairs have been canceled or postponed due to the corona virus, 50 of them in Europe.
TRADE: The corona virus leads to an increased demand for durable food and hygiene products, Aldi-Süd and Lidl observe. "We are prepared for this and are increasing our inventory accordingly," explained Aldi-Süd. Lidl also claims to have increased inventories and is working “intensively” on the secure supply of goods. The Rewe Group, which also includes penny markets, has so far not had any noticeably strong demand. According to the German trade association, there have been no bottlenecks so far.
CONTINENTAL: The automotive supplier Continental is increasing its precautionary measures and restricting business trips to and from China as well as South Korea and parts of Italy. In addition, the Dax Group is strengthening health protection for the workforce: The individual locations are supported “with the delivery of suitable personal protective equipment”. Another focus is to maintain the company's ability to deliver. Conti has factories and branches on every continent.
L'OREAL: The cosmetics giant L'Oréal will suspend its international business trips until the end of March to protect its employees. This also applies to trips to other European countries. The cosmetics company, which has its German headquarters in Düsseldorf, includes luxury brands such as Lancôme or Giorgio Armani, but also L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline New York and Garnier.
AIRPORT FRANKFURT: After Lufthansa, Frankfurt Airport is also on a savings course due to the corona crisis. The freight and passenger volume in China traffic has collapsed, so that the operator Fraport has too many staff on board. Specifically, new hires should only be possible in exceptional cases. Unpaid leave and reduced working hours are brought closer to the staff. The duration and extent of the flight cancellations due to the corona virus cannot currently be reliably predicted, according to Fraport.
MICROSOFT: The computer giant has canceled the sales target for its PC division due to the novel corona virus. Microsoft warned that the forecast for the current business quarter should not be reached due to the burden on the supply chain. Microsoft's PC division includes Windows operating systems and hardware products such as surface laptops and tablets, as well as the Xbox game console. The company emphasized that Windows demand remains high.
STANDARD CHARTERED: The British bank has to postpone its return target because of the corona virus. Along with other issues, such as low interest rates, the protests in Hong Kong and a global economic downturn, the virus effects will result in lower earnings growth in the medium term, according to the bank, which does most of its business in Asia. Standard Chartered assumes, however, that the effects of the virus are temporary.
AB INBEV: The world's largest brewer expects a drop in profits due to the corona virus. The operating profit (Ebitda) in the first three months will decrease by around ten percent, according to the brewer of brands such as Beck's, Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois. In the first two months alone, the consequences of the novel virus depressed the result by $ 170 million.
QIAGEN: The rapid spread of lung disease is causing the stock markets to crash. The biotech company Qiagen is one of the few profiteers. The diagnostics specialist begins delivering test kits for the coronavirus. Qiagen shares rose strongly.
EBM-PAST: The manufacturer of fans and motors based in Mulfingen in Baden-Württemberg has expanded its China task force to include Italy and South Korea. It analyzes the situation in the supply chains, for example. The supply of critical parts for the productions of the next four weeks is currently secured. Business trips to the regions affected by the coronavirus were prohibited. EBM-PAST mainly purchases electronic components from South Korea, mechanical parts from Italy and magnets from China.