A global leader in metal recycling and
Please introduce yourself.
Gerd: I'm Dr. Gerd Hähne, CEO of Germany/Poland Division.
Since end of 2016, Chiho has come in as the sole shareholder and put forward the “New Scholz Strategy” with relevant restructuring measures. By far, what kind of positives have emerged in Scholz under the new strategy? And what are the major differences between the restructuring this time and those from years ago.
Gerd: Scholz has been obsessed with insolvency issues for years since around 2010 due to the declining market, indebtedness and its very expansive operational model. The company of more than 100-year history suffered constantly the risk of survival, and had gone through rounds of restructuring.
We noted that Scholz's business performance has gradually improved since the start of 2017. What do you think was the main driving force?
Gerd: The market environment has clearly improved since the beginning of the year. This is currently felt by all companies in the industry. For Scholz, of course, the entrance of Chiho has helped Scholz regain internal peace.
Do you think the insecurity sentiment of employees from the past has gone or not? Do you think our employees are happy or not with our current improvements that have been achieved?
Gerd: That's right. The difficult financial situation has, of course, led to some uncertainty, but at the same time has also fueled the commitment and the creativity of the employees to keep the suppliers with a good service at Scholz. Of course, the improved financial situation is a significant relief for employees, as they do not have to apologize for late payments. I think our employees have a strong focus on their business. We should ensure that this remains the case and is not affected by an overarching reporting system.
Chiho's intention is not to become a financial investor, but is fully committed to be an industrial investor and to further explore the global recycling industry. With the integration with Scholz, Chiho wants to achieve synergy effects. From your point of view, do you feel such intention of Chiho? What benefits do you think Chiho has already brought to Scholz? And what more Chiho can bring? From your point of view, do you think the above mindset of CEG is perceivable or not? What do you think for the past year CEG has brought to Scholz? What else you would envisage for future from CEG to Scholz?
Gerd: I have understood the actions that Chiho wants to be involved in the recycling business in the long term. With Scholz, Chiho has acquired a recycling company that covers the entire spectrum of the disposal and processing of metallic secondary raw materials and the associated service. The business extends from the disposal of large industrial enterprises to the purchase of small quantities (individual suppliers). Chiho is a company that specializes in the preparation of electric motors and buys them all over the world (Chiho is regarded as the market leader in the preparation of electric motors). From this constellation, no major synergies are to be expected at first, apart from the fact that a certain purchase price control can be implemented in the respective markets. To use Scholz's experience in the disposal and processing of the Chinese market is another option. For Scholz it is safe to have a direct connection to the Chinese market.
here are cultural differences between China and Germany. What do you think of these cultural and behavioral differences? Have you ever felt any cultural differences when interacting with your Chinese colleagues? Do you think those differences are manageable?
Gerd: Of course, there are cultural differences, which is good. I have been in China for many years and can say that I have always been respected. I see no problem in working with each other when our cooperation is characterized by mutual respect and respect. We have a common goal – to be successful. We can only be successful if we work together and develop ideas to improve our work. My experience tells me that cultural differences are not important.
About our vision, “to be the leader in global recycling business”, do you think you and the team around you share our vision? What could be done in your perspective, from shareholder side and from your scope of responsibility, to push forward the vision?
Gerd: To offer large industrial companies to take over their disposal of scrap worldwide, a good thing must be made possible through a corresponding network of storage yards. Storing yards is, as we know, not a cheap affair and getting good staff for it is also difficult. Our history shows that it does not necessarily have to lead to success to be the world's largest scrap recycling company.
Are you confident in the Group's future? Are you confident in the recycling business?
Gerd: I've been working in the recycling business for 35 years and still find it very exciting. Once the reserves of natural resources on our planet are exhausted, the scraps, are the raw materials. The fact itself can only generate confidence in the recycling business. The business will change over time, as it has already changed over the past 35 years, but it will continue and it is certain. I am confident for the group and the recycling business.