Siemens Austria - Hesoun wants temporary state guarantees for troubled companies

Siemens Austria boss Wolfgang Hesoun suggests support for companies affected by the corona crisis. A state guarantee to the banks could help companies that fall below the equity ratio of 8 percent, said Hesoun on Friday morning in the Ö1 business magazine “Saldo” on ORF radio. Siemens itself got through the crisis in Austria without short-time work, but he sees problems with the Group's suppliers and customers.

"State guarantees would be a possibility that does not cost any money, but with the creditworthiness of the state gives the banks the security that the existing credit lines for companies will be maintained," explains Hesoun, who has also been chairman of the Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry for many years ( FEEI) is. He is worried about a risk of bankruptcy in some companies. Therefore, one should think about bridging. Temporary government guarantees could prevent these companies from running into problems on the liquidity side.

Vaccination coverage of the population would be best, but there is room for improvement in the EU's crisis management in the procurement of vaccines. Looking back, one could have offered higher prices in order to get more vaccine more quickly, because "the few hundred million would have been bearable compared to the damage that is being done here". A preferred vaccine delivery as in Israel in exchange with the delivery of data would not have been politically and technically possible in Austria.

Confident about normalization soon

When asked about the government's “comeback plan”, Hesoun is confident that the economy will pick up again. Particularly in closed areas such as the catering, hotel and tourism industries - with normalization - employment could be boosted again through good demand through growth. The eco-social tax reform announced by the government should not focus one-sidedly on electromobility in private transport, but think about many areas, such as alternative fuels and "green gas". CO2 pricing would certainly have a steering effect, but it should take place under reasonable framework conditions, demands the Siemens Austria boss: "We should not damage Europe's competitiveness unilaterally".

Hesoun has also been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the state-owned Casinos Austria since December 2020. He said he wanted to be a “moderator” between the two main shareholders, the Austrian state holding company ÖBAG and the Czech Sazka Group, and bring calm and predictability into it. His personal experiences with the ÖBAG board - the state holding manages the state's share in the casinos - were positive, the chats with sole director Thomas Schmid were in the past, and some of the things he couldn't do anything with, said Hesoun. Basically, the excitement is that in state or state-owned companies people are appointed with a relationship of trust with the owner "lying", says Hesoun: "If the quality is right, then it shouldn't be a problem to have developed from any political direction."

Regarding state ownership of companies, the top manager says: "The question is not whether the public sector is a bad owner, but how the public sector deals with this property." The casinos are looking for a new boss, as the current chairman of the board, Bettina Glatz- Kremsner will leave. In the selection process, he would like a broad participation of applicants with experience, because "this is a business that you should be familiar with in an operational role." In the end, everyone should be satisfied with the selection, he hopes. (apa)