Heating manufacturer Windhager is bankrupt | Nachrichten.at

The two affected companies – Windhager Zentralheiz Technik GmbH (production) and Windhager Zentralheiz GmbH (sales, service) – have more than 400 employees together. The liabilities are likely to be more than 86 million euros. The company is aiming for a restructuring process without self-administration.

“We assume that the insolvency court will open the proceedings next Monday,” said Windhager managing director Stefan Gubi to APA in the afternoon. The foreign investments in Switzerland, Germany and Italy are not affected by the application, but a follow-up application from the heat pump plant and logistics center currently under construction in Pinsdorf (Gmunden district) is to be expected. “As of today, we have therefore stopped everything that has to do with Pinsdorf.” Now it’s time to discuss the next steps with the insolvency administrator.

As KSV1870 informed, the liabilities (liquidation value) of the traditional company should be at 78.2 million euros (Zentralheiz Technik GmbH) or 8.2 million euros (Zentralheiz GmbH) and the assets at around 21.4 million euros or 2.2 million euros. According to the Credit Protection Association, the number of creditors affected is around 354 in the production company and around 150 in the sales and service company. Windhager produces boilers for all types of energy, but in recent years has made a name for itself primarily as a producer of pellet heating systems.

“Extremely negative” market development as a trigger

Gubi cited the “extremely negative” market development of the past year and a half as the cause of the financial problems. This would have its origins in the exorbitant increase in pellet prices caused by the energy price crisis triggered by the Ukraine conflict. Although the price for a ton of pellets was under 300 euros at the beginning of 2022, it later reached a level of over 700 euros per ton. “This has led to uncertainty among customers.” The situation became really dramatic for the company in the summer of 2022. At that time, German politicians were discussing whether or not wood was still worthy of support as a sustainable energy source.

Windhager managing director Stefan Gubi
Bild: www.neumayr.cc

“The markets went into free fall. We sometimes had phases with a 60 to 70 percent decline in sales and corresponding sales losses,” explained Gubi. What was doubly critical was that at the same time the company had high financial needs due to the construction of the new factory in Pinsdorf. As early as the summer of 2023, Windhager sent 179 of the just over 400 Austrian employees on short-time work for three months after the Public Employment Service (AMS) had approved a corresponding application. An extension of the regulation was then no longer approved, said Gubi.

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“We would now like to explore and advance the possibilities of restructuring together with the insolvency administrator,” the managing director referred to the next steps. Negotiations already underway with investors have not been successfully concluded to date. “We are continuing the discussions in order to ensure the continuation of the company. We are striving to ensure continued operations in the best possible quality and within the best possible time frame,” emphasized Gubi and announced that he would provide ongoing information about further developments.

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