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Industry rake in record profits

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DÜSSELDORF. Will it be 2015 or even 2013? Over this period, experts argued during the Depression, when the time came when Germany’s big companies will follow, depending again on their record times. It was the time when the suffering of the many global companies in the sales doldrums. They earned on average only about half as much as in their heydays. When should ever again be caught up?

Today, optimists and pessimists agree that the companies check off the crisis much more quickly than expected. Already this year, nine of the 30 DAX companies are earning below the line as much as before.

These include not only economic-resistant companies such as Merck Pharmaceuticals and Fresenius specialists or the energy giant RWE. They increase their revenue year after year, so that record profits surprise. But even companies whose earnings during the crisis had broken particularly strong, such as the chemical manufacturer BASF, are likely to surpass their previous record profits this time already. On the quarterly results point in the current year, its forecast of directors and analysts’ estimates.

In the past third quarter of the 110 largest listed German companies have earned as calculated by the Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg, the bottom line € 13 billion – more than twice as much as in the previous year. Alone on the 30 DAX companies account for eleven billion euros from 5.7 billion euros a year earlier. Keep in mind, nor that the German bank, the overall result this time down dramatically suppressed, because it has written down 2.3 billion euros on its Postbank and so slipped into the red.

The reason for the rapid return to old records lies in the strong world economy. This will benefit the many export-oriented companies. "It is crucial that the emerging economies are growing not only strong, but also supply in absolute terms, an important contribution to sales for the German company," says Michael Keller of the Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Whether BASF, Volkswagen and Siemens – all industry groups increased in recent years their share in Asia. Daimler’s share of sales in China increased in only three years from 1.9 to 9.3 percent in the first half of 2010. Therefore, the Stuttgart will benefit even more from the sales boom in China than before the crisis.

In addition, economic benefit-sensitive companies that they have laid off any employees in the severe crisis, but the flexible rules of the German labor market for short-time work used. The high staff enables the company is now in a position to cope with the sudden flood of orders, without having to scramble to recruit new specialists.

BASF was thus in a position, his abrupt slowdown in the order set aside large plants once again to turn – and therefore can now serve its customers quickly. The automaker put an immediate extra shifts and attacked back empty to experienced staff with empty working time accounts.

Companies see the height of the boom has reached

"In addition to the strong economy driving efficiencies and cost savings, the huge profits," says Carsten Klude, chief economist of the Hamburg private bank MM Warburg. If the cosmetics and brand Henkel Group in the current year earned nearly 20 percent more than in his previous record in 2007, then for rigorous cost-cutting efforts are responsible.

Ironically, the boom in 2007, linked the then outgoing President & CEO Ulrich Lehner to the sharpest cost-cutting program in the 134-year history. 3,000 of 52,000 jobs were cut. Retrieved from "capitalist logic" and the sell-out of traditional family values at that time there was talk. In fact, Henkel has benefited greatly from the early, opened savings program: the costs were already at the height of the crisis in 2008/09, much lower, and after the economic recovery, the company could take off quickly.

Linde was on the expensive acquisition of British competitor BOC his cost-cutting program launched high performance organization with which the gas company in 2009-2012 will save up to € 800 million. Linde sees potential savings in procurement and IT.

If one believes, however, the statements of the directors, the companies should already reached the zenith of the boom. Unison emphasize the manager that 2011 will be more difficult than the current year. According to Merck’s CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley, times fulminant growth rates tend in the chemical industry to a close. Merck is one of nine DAX companies, which in 2010 are likely to earn as much as before.

BASF blows the same tune. As the largest risks appoints CEO Jürgen Hambrecht, the leakage of economic programs and public debt. The consolidation of households threatened with many investments, thus slowing demand. Hambrecht: "It can not be assumed that the economic momentum of recent months 2011 will continue unchanged."

Equally skeptical is mechanical engineering. Germany’s largest industry represented in particular firms in the second row, such as drought, Gildemeister, Heidelberger Druck and Krones. "The pace of economic development will slow down again in 2011," said Association President Manfred Wittenstein. Besides the end-of-business programs, he holds the stock in many companies for construction completed. Among them will suffer the orders.