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经济学人:德国名企股东闹不和 双方陷冷战

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German business

德国商业
Screwdrivers drawn
拉锯战
A shareholder stand-off in the Black Forest
黑森林里的股东对峙
If you have ever struggled to assemble a flat-pack wardrobe, the chances are that its wooden pieces were cut, drilled and finished on machines made by Homag. Founded in 1960 in Schopfloch, in the Black Forest, Homag is one of those little-known world champions that are the backbone of the German economy.
你若曾奋力想组装起一个平板式包装的衣橱,那么该衣橱的木质组件很可能是由豪迈(Homag)公司生产的机器切割、打孔、抛光而成的。1960年,豪迈公司在黑森林深处的Schopfloch小镇成立。一些德国经济的支柱企业是业内的世界领跑者,却很少为人所知,豪迈公司便是其中之一。

德国豪迈股东闹不和.jpg

But not all is well in Schopfloch. Gerhard Schuler, one of its founders, now a sprightly 85, is at war with Deutsche Beteiligungs AG (DBAG), a private-equity firm that was once his dream partner. After buying into the company in 1997 DBAG built up a stake of 60%. When Homag was floated on the stockmarket in 2007 it kept 33% and Mr Schuler stayed on as honorary chairman with a small stake.But business dipped in 2008 and the shares plunged. Mr Schuler and his supporters, worried about the direction the company was taking, started buying.They built a blocking minority of 25.01%.

然而位于 Schopfloch的豪迈公司的情况并非一切如意。公司创始人之一,现年85岁高龄,精神矍铄的舒勒(Gerhard Schuler)正与他曾经的梦中情人——德意志参股上市公司(DBAG)闹不和。私募股权公司DBAG于1997年入股豪迈公司,而后持有豪迈60%的 股份。当豪迈公司2007年在证券市场上市时,DBAG保留了33%的股份,舒勒先生则手持小额股份,以名誉总裁的身份留任。然而,2008年豪迈公司生意惨淡,股票跳水。舒勒先生与众支持者对公司的走向倍感堪忧,继而纷纷入股,他们买下25.0%的股权,成立了有否决权的少数股权。
That did not stop DBAG kicking Mr Schuler’s three appointees off Homag’s supervisory board two years ago and replacing them with people who were “more internationally minded”. Since then, the two sides have been at screwdrivers drawn.
DBAG却对此置之不理,反而在两年前将舒勒任命的三名委员踢出豪迈的监事会,用两位“更具国际化眼光”的成员替代之。自那时起,两方便进入拉锯相持阶段。
At a stormy shareholders’ meeting last month things came to a head. Mr Schuler and his allies accused DBAG of being a “locust” interested only inshort-term profit, and of selling out to a foreign buyer. Local staff want Achim Gauss, Homag’s long-standing technical director, who resigned abruptly “for personal reasons” on May 23rd, to be reinstated. IKEA, a Swedish furniture chain and Homag’s biggest customer, also expressed concern at Mr Gauss’s departure.
在上个月硝烟四起的股东大会上,两方争斗达到了高潮。舒勒及其盟友指责DBAG只关注眼前利益,向外国买家兜售的做法如“蝗虫”般贪婪。地方员工希望长期担任豪迈公司技术总监的高斯先生(Achim Gauss)恢复原职。今年5月23日,高斯先生突然以“个人原因”为由,辞去总监一职。高斯先生的离职同样引起了豪迈公司大客户,瑞典家具连锁公司宜家的堪忧。
DBAG, one of Germany’s oldest private-equity firms, is not obviously locust-like. Its executives insist it is there for the long term. However, Homag is DBAG’s biggest investment and its shares have not performed well. Half of DBAG’s stake is owned by two of its investment funds, one of which is scheduled to wind up this year. So a partial exit would be logical. There is no reason for a forced sale,says a DBAG source: that would weaken DBAG’s influence. Meanwhile, Mr Schuler’s crowd are looking for a white knight.
DBAG是德国资历最老的私募股权企业之一,显然与蝗虫无半点相像之处。DBAG的主管们坚称,公司在为豪迈的长远利益着想。不管怎样,豪迈是DBAG最大的一笔投资,而豪迈的股票的表现并不良好。DBAG所持的股份中,一半由其旗下两只投资基金操控,而其中一只计划于今年停止运作。因而DBAG部分退出的做法合情合理。DBAG的线人称,公司没道理强制抛股,这样做会削弱DBAG的影响力。与此同时,舒勒先生的团队正另寻救星。
More happily, Homag’s business is on the rebound. Last year’s turnover of £800m ($1.1 billion) was near the pre-crisis peak, and the closing of three German subsidiaries should cut costs. Gordon Schonell of Bankhaus Lampe, a private bank, says that “the managers are doing the right things.” But for Mr Schuler the shift from family firm to shareholder capitalism has gone too far.
更庆幸的是,豪迈的生意正开始反弹。去年豪迈的营业额为8亿英镑(11亿美元),接近危机前的最高额,德国境内三家子公司的关闭应该能降低成本。私人银行Bankhaus Lampe的舒奈尔(Gordon Schonell)说,“管理层现今所做的是对的。”但是对于舒勒先生,从家族企业向股东资本主义转变的有点离谱了。

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重点单词   查看全部解释    
source [sɔ:s]

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n. 发源地,来源,原始资料

 
stake [steik]

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n. 桩,赌注,利害关系
v. 下注,用桩支撑

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wardrobe ['wɔ:drəub]

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n. 衣柜,衣橱
n. 全部服装

 
technical ['teknikəl]

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adj. 技术的,工艺的

 
weaken ['wi:kən]

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v. 使 ... 弱,变弱,弄淡

 
abruptly [ə'brʌptli]

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adv. 突然地,莽撞地,陡峭地,不连贯地

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shift [ʃift]

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n. 交换,变化,移动,接班者
v. 更替,移

 
director [di'rektə, dai'rektə]

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n. 董事,经理,主管,指导者,导演

 
partial ['pɑ:ʃəl]

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adj. 部分的,偏袒的,偏爱的
n. 泛音

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resigned [ri'zaind]

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adj. 认命的,顺从的,听任的 动词resign的过去

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