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Again: Billionaire Benko is asking German taxpayers to pay

2023-03-28T01:42:28.638Z


17,000 employees at Galeria Kaufhof once again have to fear for their jobs. If the second insolvency plan fails within three years, the owner wants to close the shop. Benko puts the gun on the chest of the federal government. A commentary by Georg Anastasiadis.


17,000 employees at Galeria Kaufhof once again have to fear for their jobs.

If the second insolvency plan fails within three years, the owner wants to close the shop.

Benko puts the gun on the chest of the federal government.

A commentary by Georg Anastasiadis.

For the second time, the Austrian multi-billionaire and Galeria owner Rene Benko is pointing the gun at the federal government: money, or the 17,000 Galeria Kaufhof jobs threatened with bankruptcy are gone, that's the demand in short.

The state is to waive 590 million rescue millions from the first insolvency proceedings, in which the creditors at the time had to bleed with two billion.

Otherwise, as the insolvency plan says coolly in legal German, “business operations should be stopped immediately”.

For the long-suffering employees of the department store chain, this is the next shock, for the federal government an impertinence.

In the best case, 80 of the 120 branches will remain.

Admittedly, Benko has not been lucky since acquiring the ailing Kaufhof chain.

First came Corona, then the Ukraine war and inflation, which drove away less well-heeled customers.

Energy costs alone rose from 65 million to 150 million a year.

That's the page.

Rene Benko: Privatize profits, socialize losses

The other is the shady business model of Signa boss Benko.

It works like this, at least in some of his stores: The billionaire buys department stores in the best inner-city locations, separates the mostly weak operating companies from the valuable properties, and as their new co-owner, he then demands handsome rents from Galeria.

This calculation can only work out with the help of the taxpayer, who is supposed to step in when the department stores run out of air - after all, it is always said that there are many jobs and lively inner cities.

Profits were privatized and losses socialized.

Whether and how (and where!) the department store model can still function is more open than ever after the bankruptcies of inner-city giants such as Goertz and Peek & Cloppenburg.

But one thing is clear: the taxpayer is not there to finance predatory capitalism.

If Benko wants to refute the allegations, he will have to spend a lot of his own money on modernizing his department stores.

The new insolvency plan holds opportunities - but even more risks.

Source: merkur

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