It is becoming increasingly clear that another German medium-sized business icon, the chainsaw manufacturer Stihl, will soon move abroad. Miele, the specialist in “Made in Germany” washing machines par excellence, had already announced in February that it would close production in this country and install itself in Poland.

Stihl, known for the striking orange color of its power tools, is also moving away. At the end of March, the chairman of the advisory board, Nikolas Stihl, told the Tagesschau that the group had Switzerland in its sights. Although the country itself is considered expensive, production there is cheaper, says Stihl.

A spokeswoman then added: “In the medium term, IG Metall is calling for a 32-hour week with full salary compensation. “This reduction in working hours would significantly weaken the overall competitiveness of the German headquarters.”

Stihl postpones decision to invest in Germany

Now the exit seems almost final. This is clear from a report in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. As the newspaper announced on Friday, Stihl is postponing the decision on whether a major plant will be installed in this country.

The traditional company from Baden-Württemberg, with almost 100 years of history and 20,000 employees worldwide, was planning to move the production of chainsaw guide rails to Ludwigsburg, according to the “FAZ”. For this, a new factory would have to be built.

“We have postponed the decision on whether we will build there and what,” said Nikolas Stihl, grandson of the founder, in an interview with the “FAZ”. It turned out that we could probably continue at our headquarters in Waiblingen for “a few years”.

It's a sum of three-digit millions.

Stihl once again referred to the general conditions in Germany, which are currently a source of criticism for many entrepreneurs: “We are also a globally active company and we have to think carefully about where we will invest if we invest an amount of three-digit millions. And Germany is currently no longer the most attractive place in the world, to put it mildly.”

“This simply shows that in recent years general conditions have deteriorated very significantly, to the point that some investments in Germany are not competitive compared to other places,” continued the family businessman.

It is no coincidence that Stihl has chosen Switzerland for its future production. On the one hand, the company has been manufacturing the chains for its chainsaws there for more than five decades. However, because guide rail production is also a “high-tech application,” it would not be considered a place with low wages and low-skilled workers.

“We need a place with enough qualified personnel where we can produce with the right equipment and high productivity,” said the manager. Switzerland offers the best overall package of “tax burden, additional wage costs, energy prices, approval processes and working day costs”.

Family businessman criticizes politicians who only think about the next electoral period

“Switzerland is currently cheaper for us than investing in Germany,” continues Stihl. The businessman, however, criticized the high energy prices in Germany. In addition, the tax burden, government fees and bureaucracy are scaring away many companies, not just those that consume a lot of energy. “This movement is really starting to get going,” Stihl said, continuing, “What's gone is gone. Because when we build a place, it will initially exist for 40 or 50 years.”

The businessman also explained what should be done differently in economic policy. “In many cases I lose the long-term horizon. We only think about it until the next electoral period. And thinking about what I have to do to be re-elected is what determines everything,” said Stihl.

Politicians also have to take risks, as former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder once did with Agenda 2010. Instead of ensuring his re-election, he addressed the problems. “Events proved that this was the right move, even if it cost him his position.”