With limited production, we will restart our plants in Europe and North America in the coming weeks. COO Stefan Leitzgen with an overview of the current status and what we can expect in the coming weeks.

Andreas Heine: What is the timetable for Europe, when will which plant start up again?

Stefan Leitzgen: The first plants restarted last week, others will follow this week and the last hopefully from 11 May. However, we often work in single shifts at the beginning and not even on all plants and over the whole week. For example, we will start in Attendorn this week on a shift with 25 employees, normally about 120.     

Andreas Heine: They say that the development in North America is a good two weeks behind. Does that also apply to the restart in Canada, USA and Mexico?

Stefan Leitzgen: In general, that is the case. The complete lock down in all three countries will continue until at least May 10th, in Mexico even until the end of the month. But even these dates change almost daily. With very few exceptions, none of our customers are planning to restart before 11 May.

Andreas Heine: How much of our capacity will the customers call up? Are the strategies for ramping up the automotive plants similar or completely different?

Stefan Leitzgen: We expect a maximum of 50% of normal sales in Europe in May, and that is already an optimistic scenario. In North America, we expect sales to be significantly lower. Basically, all OEMs are planning similarly. They all start with one shift and then increase their production week by week. Often the assembly lines run slower than before the crisis because fewer employees are used. The speed of ramp-up varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.  

Andreas Heine: Are we well prepared for the restart everywhere or are there still special challenges?

Stefan Leitzgen: All plants must carry out a "Return to Work" audit. This is how we check whether all Covid19 precautionary measures have been implemented. And every employee worldwide receives training in which the plant-specific measures are explained. Yes, I am convinced we are very well prepared. 

Andreas Heine: Will our new binding instructions for dealing with each other in the plant be accepted in times of Corona and will they be implemented where employees are already working?

Stefan Leitzgen: Our Covid19 protective measures will also be implemented in the plants where employees are already working. Of course not everything is running smoothly yet, but it is working. There is occasional criticism, for example for the closure of the changing rooms. But there are also employees who have thanked us for our prudent approach. 

Andreas Heine: Are there any projections as to how badly the shutdown has affected us as a company and what impact it will have on our annual results?

Stefan Leitzgen: There is an initial forecast for the period from January to the end of June. The figures are very sobering. However, it is still far too early to make a forecast for the entire year. But one thing is already completely clear today: we will have to tighten our belts considerably.

Andreas Heine: At present it is difficult to bear the many crisis reports every day. Is there anything that could cheer us up a bit, give us hope for the future?

Stefan Leitzgen: Yes, our management colleague in Romania has become a father for the third time.

Andreas Heine: That are definitely good news, congratulations from me as well.

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