Bankruptcy Averted

Car Repair Chain on Road to Recovery

ATU mechanic at repair shop
This old jalopy needed some fixing. Source: Inga Kjer/DPA.

German automobile workshop chain ATU is back on the up after scraping close to insolvency and being bought by French competitor Mobivia last year.

The company, which had been passed from one financial investor to another for years, has undergone a restructuring entailing the loss of hundreds of jobs. Its management, however, has regained confidence under the new owner. Based in Weiden, Bavaria, ATU repairs cars and sells auto parts, equipment and tires.

“We now have significantly lower rents, no more debts and a strategic investor who thinks long-term and understands this business,” said ATU boss Jörn Werner.

But the company, sold for €225 million ($268 million) last year by investors including Goldman Sachs and Centerbridge, still needs a tune-up of sorts. As Handelsblatt learned, ATU plans to cut administrative jobs at its head office to save cash. According to an internal document, its management wants to slash €15 million off its wage bill in its central operations over the next three years. A final decision on the cutbacks is expected next month.

This comes despite an upturn in ATU’s business. In the fiscal year to the end of June, revenue edged up 0.7 percent to just under €1 billion, the first increase after years of declines. The firm also made an operating profit. “We’re planning significant growth for the next three years,” Mr. Werner told Handelsblatt.

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