Business News

Companies responding to coronavirus crisis differently

Velenje/Ljubljana, 20 March (STA) - Slovenian companies are dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus epidemic in various ways. Some are closing shop temporarily, while others, mostly part of global production networks, try to persevere amid supply disruption and ramped up safety measures.

The Chinese-owned household appliances maker Hisense Gorenje announced on Friday it would close all its European plants between 23 March and 5 April in the light of the coronavirus spread worsening across Europe, quoting preventive reasons.

The company said that the measure would be imposed despite sufficient amounts of protective gear as well as raw materials to help curb the spread and protect its employees' health.

The management and in-house trade union have agreed that the production would be re-launched on 6 April, unless the situation and measures escalate and limit operations in the meantime.

The step was announced only two days after Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek offered Hisense Gorenje as a good example in organising work in such a way as to protect their staff's health and remain operative despite the epidemic.

Prior to the Gorenje announcement, several other large companies decided to close shop, including household appliance maker BSH Hišni Aparati, sports equipment manufacturer Elan, footwear manufacturer Alpina, the Magna Steyr paint shop and car maker Revoz.

Meanwhile, some Slovenian companies that are part of global production networks cannot suspend production without the implementation of national or EU measures. All of them have reported they have stepped up preventive measures though to protect their staff.

"Despite the pandemic the company is obliged to meet contractual obligations to our customers," said the TPV group, adding that the company would be otherwise faced with contractual penalties and loss of future business.

The car industry supplier employs some 1,200 workers and is present in Slovenia, Serbia, the US and China.

Meanwhile, Dewesoft, a provider of data acquisition systems, testing and measuring instruments used in satellite and rocket development, continues with operations and has introduced boosted safety measures drawn up on the basis of China's experience and insight in dealing with the epidemic.

Dewesoft employs more than 200 people and has subsidiaries in 16 countries, including China.

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