Money Francotyp-Postalia: A long-established company in Berlin - and an investor that nobody wants to have there

17:33  02 june  2020
17:33  02 june  2020 Source:   tagesspiegel.de

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Francotyp-Postalia delivers good figures. Nevertheless, an active investor installs a new board. But the old one doesn't want to go.

Seit fast 100 Jahren baut Francotyp-Postalia Frankiermaschinen. © Jens Büttner / dpa Francotyp-Postalia has been building franking machines for almost 100 years.

Happy Pentecost does not exist for the Francotyp-Postalia (FP) staff. And certainly not for CEO Rüdiger Andreas Günther. Because on Tuesday a new employee comes to the FP headquarters on Prenzlauer Promenade, who nobody wants there: Carsten Lind, formerly working for Fujitsu and working in the private equity industry, was appointed by the Supervisory Board as the new Management Board.

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FP Francotyp - Postalia Deutschland – Prenzlauer Promenade 28, 13089 Berlin , Germany – rated 3.7 based on 28 reviews "Terrible company to do Terrible company to do business with. We were clients of FP for twenty years but when we wanted to cancel with them they tried to throw their weight

In the first step, as soon as Günther is driven from the court, Lind is to become CEO. But Günther does not want to leave. Since 2016 he has been successfully managing the traditional Berlin company with around 1,000 employees.

Regular quarterly figures have just been released. But that will probably not save him, because major shareholder Rolf Elgeti now owns 28 percent of FP shares and puts pressure on : "We have no confidence in Günther," Elgeti told Tagesspiegel in February. And then the pressure on Günther increased further.

"We deliver great numbers"

supervisory board chairman Klaus Röhrig, whose investment company AOC holds 9.5 percent in FP, Günther had extended the contract a year ago until 2023. But with Elgeti's support, he changed his mind and has been trying to Günther for months to move to give up.

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But he doesn't want to, sees the workforce and the two other board members at his side and argues with the good development of the company under his leadership. "We ran great numbers," Günther told Tagesspiegel on Friday. "For the 15th consecutive quarter, we do better than our competitors."

Despite the first corona effects , earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose by 15 percent in the first three months to EUR 8 million. The second quarter will be worse because of Corona, there will be short-time work in the group. Last year, FP generated sales of 210 million euros with its Franking / Inserting, Mail Services and Software business units. But Elgeti, who does not comment on his ideas, may be going too slowly with the digital transformation.

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Internet of Things should be the future

"The employees are worried about the future direction, since nothing is officially announced regarding the strategic direction", says IG Metall. "It would be important to be able to recognize the understandable cornerstones of a resilient future vision and strategy from the new board member, the board and the owners." That remains a wish for the time being.

FP has around 210,000 customers worldwide who use franking machines to transfer around $ 1.5 billion in postage. The company offers secure transfers of money and data and wants to establish itself in the Internet of Things.

For example when equipping cold chains of the Metro, which have to function for the transport of goods from South America to German markets, in the control of wind turbines or elevators. It is always about the reliable and secure transfer of data. And FP can do that. Meanwhile, the quarterly turnover of 4.5 million euros in the software / digital sector is still comparatively poor.

What should Lind do?

How things will change with the new board Lind is open. By Friday afternoon, it was also not clear what tasks Lind was performing. In any case, he is expected at the FP headquarters, a job is prepared. As the company says, a supervisory board will escort the new manager on the first day of work as escort protection.

The supervisory board may comment on the distribution of business among the board members on Tuesday. And Günther, who is also responsible for finances, withdraw functions. The next question is whether and how he resists it.

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