Jobs are more important than competitive concernsPrint

Hearing on the ministerial approval

Mülheim an der Ruhr/Berlin, 16 November 2015 – At today's public hearing at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Tengelmann Group again explained the background and arguments for the ministerial approval they have requested. "The decision to finally withdraw from the supermarket business was a difficult step for my family to take," said Managing Director and personally liable partner of the Tengelmann Group Karl-Erivan W. Haub. "From that moment in time my top personal priority was to hand over the company entirely whilst protecting the maximum number of jobs. I owe this above all to our employees, though it is also beneficial in overall economic terms and in the overriding public interest. In the case of individual realisation, however, up to 8,500 jobs would have been put at risk."

After the Federal Cartel Office had prohibited the sale of the Kaiser's and Tengelmann grocery stores in the spring for competitive reasons, the company submitted a request for ministerial approval together with the EDEKA group. "Our particular case is a typical one for ministerial approval: If you consider it all as a scale, then in one bowl of the scale there is the low weight representing the assumed competition restriction, and in the other there is the much heavier weight of the overall economic benefits and the overriding interests of the general public," said Haub. Primarily, these are the saving of jobs but also the avoidance of transaction losses, tax deficits and costs arising from unemployment which would have a negative impact on the state budget. Haub puts particular emphasis on the protection of employees in the case of an EDEKA takeover. "We will hand over almost 16,000 jobs to EDEKA, which will also remain in the EDEKA group following the fusion as this is not a rationalisation merger." To protect the workforce, comprehensive measures have been taken in advance in the form of voluntary company agreements. "The employment rights of almost two-thirds of the workforce are legally binding and comprehensively protected. Only one sales region has so far regrettably not been prepared to enter into talks. But our offer for an equal level of protection is also available here," Haub continued. "The legal security provided by the company agreements concluded was again checked comprehensively on our behalf by Professor Däubler. They provide concrete and tangible protection which does not require constant checking."

Hypothetical thoughts concerning alternative takeover scenarios are rejected by Haub. "A decision has to be made on the existing contract, there is no other option. Because there is no other buyer which is not questionable in terms of anti-trust law."