Senior managers nearing retirement have major problems finding a successor for their company. Many people therefore simply want to close their companies, as a new study shows.
Entrepreneurs with retirement plans are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable successors. The newspapers of the Funke media group report, citing an evaluation by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), that most recently there were only 2,017 interested people out of 6,792 senior bosses.
Overall, less than half as many potential successors as before the corona pandemic contacted their chamber about a possible company takeover. According to the information, in 2019 there were still 4,302. This is a historic low since statistics began in 2007, the newspapers quoted the DIHK as saying.
The situation in East Germany is particularly tense
Around 24,000 contacts from the chambers from last year were evaluated for the company succession report. In East Germany, including Berlin, the situation is particularly tense. There are almost four companies looking for a successor for every interested party. In West Germany there are 3.2 companies for every interested party, and in the entire country there are 3.37 companies.
The result of the shortage of skilled workers and workers is that a good quarter of entrepreneurs are thinking about simply closing down. Extrapolated from all owners over 60, around a quarter of a million companies could be affected by such closures in the next five years, the Funke newspapers quoted from the report.
“More and less willingness to take risks”
DIHK President Peter Adrian spoke of “drastic developments for Germany as a business location”. More and more companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, are at risk of disappearing and leaving gaps in the economy and society.
The economist Marcel Fratzscher told the newspapers that it was up to the companies themselves to set up their operations in such a way that they were attractive enough to take the associated entrepreneurial risk. He also described the trend that “for a long time now” fewer and fewer young people have wanted to become self-employed and take the associated risks. “In addition, more and more self-employed people want to pursue their own ideas and not just take over an existing company.”
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