German lead-acid battery maker Moll Batterien has opened insolvency proceedings after 75 years of operation due to the “sudden, massive, and permanent” decline in sales caused by the corona crisis.
The 75-year-old company applied to the Coburg District Court for the opening of insolvency proceedings on Monday, 30 March.
The company made EFB, AGM and VRLA starter batteries for automotive applications, and had recently launched a 12.8V lithium iron phosphate battery.
A company statement read: “The economic conditions caused by the Corona crisis and the general production stop in the automotive industry has forced this step.
“The Corona crisis has far-reaching consequences for the whole automotive industry. In the current situation, it is not possible to predict whether and when sales will recover.
“It is highly probable that even if automobile production resumes, it will take many months, perhaps even years, for sales to return to the level seen at the beginning of the year. The Akkumulatorenfabrik MOLL GmbH + Co KG lacks the financial means to bridge such a long period of time.”
The firm’s plant in Bad Staffelstein has been closed a week before the insolvancy filing.
“This is a bitter day, especially for our employees,” said the company’s managing partner Gertrud Moll-Möhrstedt. “Our top priority and concern is now their social security.
“However, we expect that insolvency proceedings will resume production if the automotive industry ends its production stop in time.”
Moll had invested more than €15 million ($16 million) in the expansion of its production capacities over the past six years, with the support of its two foreign partners, and created almost 150 new jobs.
In 2014, Moll formed a strategic partnership with the Chaowei group with the announcement it would “provide the right conditions for a medium-sized family business to meet the challenges posed by a global economy”.
The company’s statement also read: “The focus of sales is the Volkswagen Group, the factories are supplied by Skoda, Seat, the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands. Despite the difficult environment, the last financial year 2019 ended with a balanced result.
“Due to the expansion of production and the establishment of the business model with lithium batteries, MOLL had to pre-finance considerable operating funds in the past few months, which was at the expense of liquidity.”
The company was established in 1945 by Peter J. Moll and his wife Elisabeth at the production site at Bad Staffelstein. A year later, the first motor vehicle battery left the factory using a high proportion of recyclable materials from used batteries.