Without Russian gas in Germany: the 400-year-old perfume factory could disappear

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There is no Russian gas in GermanyA 400-year-old incense factory could be lost

The German company Heinz-Glas, which makes glass bottles for the biggest perfumes, namely L’Oréal, is threatened by a reduction in the supply of Russian gas that it uses a lot. .

With its 400 years of history, the Heinz-Glas company, which produces glass bottles for the best perfumes, together with L’Oréal, has seen the passing of storms. But the gas crisis rocking Germany could be fatal. “We live in a critical situation,” said Murat Agac, chief assistant to the CEO of this German family company, which has seen thirteen generations at its head since 1622.

“At the end of sending the gas (…) the function of the glass will be lost”, he added. Based in the crystal region of Rennsteig, straddling Bavaria, in the south of the country, and Thuringia in the east, the company is one of the major international players in the sector. In his Bavarian factory in Kleintettau, almost 70 tons of glass emerge every day from the noise of the machines and the heat of the furnaces.

A million vials a day

To create and shape this material, the factory needs high temperatures, up to 1,600 degrees. Gas is used extensively in this process. Until now, the well has flowed freely, and at a low price, thanks to the pipelines connecting Germany with Russia. But that era is over. Moscow reduced its exports by 80% after the war in Ukraine. As a result, prices rise. For Heinz-Glas, “the price has increased ten, sometimes twenty times compared to 2019”, a situation that is “uneconomical”, thinks Murat Agac.

In Kleintettau, the small pots, decorated with relief motifs, are tempered in the kiln, closely monitored by the workers, before being sent to the company’s customers – including French L’Oréal. The consequences of stopping the import of Russian gas are very important for the company, which produces a million of these bottles a day in Germany. The furnace of the company’s second factory in Piesau, a mountain village under the pastures, will be permanently damaged if it stops, according to Mr.

3,000 football fields of solar panels to work

Even in the Kleintettau factory, where the ovens run on electricity, about “40%” of the business still runs on gas. Like Heinz-Glas, it is the entire German industry, the mainstay of the economy in the euro zone, that is threatened. Russian gas accounted for up to 55% of German imports before the war in Ukraine.

To achieve this, Heinz-Glas has installed a liquid gas storage container, which can be reached every day by car. But this cost “three times more” than now, and it’s not enough. In the long term, the replacement of the entire physical system with electronic technologies could cost “50 million euros” for the company, an amount that it is believed that it cannot afford.

“We need state support,” said Murat Agac, leaving the problem of moving to India or China, where the company is located. The company’s two German companies also need the equivalent of “3,000 football fields of solar panels” to operate. For the company’s 1,500 employees in Germany – and 54,000 employees in the country – the outlook is therefore bleak.

(AFP)

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