The executive management of Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH from Burtenbach in Bavaria has been named the "Turnaround Company of the Year 2008" by the audit, tax and business law advisory services company BDO Deutsche Warentreuhand AG and the economic journal ‘impulse’ in the company category with over 1,000 employees. Within the scope of a celebratory prize-giving in the Bertelsmann-Repräsentanz in Berlin, Alexander Tietje, Chairman of the Board, Dr Andreas Geiger, Finance and HR Director as well as Andreas Berndmeyer, Sales Director, were there to receive the accolade. This competition singles out business owners who, by consistently taking innovative and courageous steps, have turned around their companies' fortunes that found themselves under threat.
Alexander Tietje, Chairman of the Board at Kögel, views the awarding of this significant honour not only as confirmation of a successful financial restructuring concept, but also of the ongoing commitment and the huge input made by everyone who has participated. "At Kögel, the partners, management board and workers are on the same side in this tug of war. This has helped us to get back on the track to success." Today Kögel is one of the ten largest trailer producers in the world.
Four years ago, the former market leader Kögel Fahrzeugwerke AG only had a market share of ten to eleven percent and was ultimately declared insolvent. The spirited investors, amongst whom were Hieronymus Graf Wolff Metternich and the Schoeller brothers, took over the company six months later and together initiated a radical change in course. They started with a clear-out of the formerly excessive and cost-intensive range of models and instead put their weight behind a platform strategy based on a modular system. The number of variants available at that time was reduced from 400 to 70. Instead of twelve different mudguard models only one was kept that fits all trailers. This clear-out also extended to the technological sphere. With a series of practically-oriented innovations the company became a pioneer in innovation in its sector. The most significant innovation: The lightweight Phoenixx megatrailer in which carbon fibres were used for the first time in a standard trailer thus offering up to two extra tonnes of payload – cash savings for every haulier. There was also important support from the workers who did unpaid overtime – agreed to by the trade union IG Metall. For Dr Ursula Weidenfeld, editor in chief of ‘impulse’, Kögel has shown extraordinary strength with its powerful resurgence.
The prize "Turnaround Company of the Year" has, for the last three years, been awarded to companies with up to 500, 500 to 1,000 and over 1,000 workers. In addition to Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, Medisana AG from Hilden and Stendaler Landbäckerei GmbH were also honoured. "During the credit crunch, we want to bolster companies' courage that the return to a profitable rate of growth is always possible", Christian Dyckerhoff, spokesman for the BDO Board says, the motivation behind breathing life into this prize. Apart from the turnaround to sound growth, the panel of expert judges values, above all, the consistent implementation of the restructuring concept devised.
"The success stories of these companies, that were on the verge of collapse, that fought and are now back to business, lift spirits in the middle of the crisis and show the special commitment made by the prize winners", the spokesman for the judges Dr Hans-Jürgen Kirsch comments, head of the Institute for Accounting and Auditing at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster. Members of the panel of judges also include Dr Patrick Adenauer, President of DIE FAMILIENUNTERNEHMER-ASU e.V., Martin Blessing, spokesman for the Board of Commerzbank AG, Dr Lutz Mackebrandt, Vice President of Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberater BDU e. V., Christian Dyckerhoff, spokesman for the Board of BDO Deutsche Warentreuhand AG, and Dr Ursula Weidenfeld, editor in chief of ‘impulse and Dr Matthias Wittstock, Head of the Department for SME policy in the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology. The sponsor is Mr Michael Glos, the federal minister for economics and technology.