Ziegler reports full order book and is gaining back fire market share

Published:  07 January, 2013

Just under one year after filing for insolvency, the fire engine producer Ziegler is now reporting full order books again. As communicated by insolvency administrator Bruno M. Kübler, senior partner and name patron of the insolvency firm KÜBLER with nationwide operations, the Ziegler Group also managed to overcome the damage to its reputation caused by the anti-trust proceedings. As one of the former German market leaders, Ziegler has now regained almost all market shares that had previously been lost.

In 2012, the Ziegler Group sold more than 500 fire engines, most of them to municipalities. Ziegler also won a number of major orders such as a collective order of 50 fire engines placed by the state of Hesse and more than 17 airfield fire engines ordered by the German Armed Forces. Ziegler’s market share has already reached more than 20% again. The international business also enjoyed further growth: Ziegler sold roughly 200 fire engines abroad.The order backlog now stretches far into 2014. This is complemented by stabile income from the significant business with accessories, spare parts and services. The group has a headcount of currently 850 employees and comprises the parent company in the Swabian town of Giengen, two German subsidiaries and eight companies abroad, in Europe and Asia. The subsidiaries did not suffer the otherwise common knock-on effects and all managed to avoid insolvency.

“Ziegler thus made an impressive reappearance on the market as a competitor to be reckoned with,” insolvency administrator Bruno M. Kübler emphasised today at the company’s headquarters in the Swabian town of Giengen. “Credit for this mainly goes to the employees who have supported all restructuring measures introduced to optimise production processes and increase the company’s per capita sales. For they have never faltered in their commitment.”

Kübler also initiated a number of product innovations and helped Ziegler launch several new developments such as the electric drive tunnel rescue vehicle “Merkur”, which has won international applause this year, or the “Fire Ant”, the world’s smallest three-axis fire truck, which was only introduced a few days ago.

Ziegler’s strong economic development provides a sound basis for current talks with investors. The insolvency administrator’s goal is to sell the company this year to an investor with a long-term orientation and loyalty to its existing locations. “We are not pressed for time,” Kübler stressed. “On the contrary: Ziegler’s market value will rise further in 2013, given the company has already returned to black operating figures in 2012.” The insolvency administrator is currently negotiating with five, primarily strategic German and international investors. In view of existing confidentiality agreements, Kübler did not wish to provide further details pertaining to the interested parties.

Background: In addition to a gradual deterioration due to mismanagement, the insolvency was directly triggered by a cartel fine of EUR 8m on account of Ziegler’s participation in a purchase cartel together with three other producers (Rosenbauer, IVECO and Schlingmann). During the first months after the insolvency proceedings had been instituted, orders from public customers in particular fell away, as many municipalities refrained from buying from an insolvent company. There were also reservations based on the concluded anti-trust case. Insolvency administrator Kübler managed, however, to stabilise business operations and to lift the reservations on the part of the municipalities through months of persuasion. Moreover, Ziegler gained the certificate required by the municipal authorities’ umbrella organisations and thus proved that it had successfully implemented all self-cleansing measures required to be readmitted as a competitor in tender procedures. With regard to the claims for damages (as insolvency receivables) declared by municipalities in context with the anti-trust case, talks are currently being held in a positive atmosphere, as Kübler reports.

  • Operation Florian

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