The Supervisory Board of Casinos Austria has unanimously agreed to a difficult restructuring plan which it claims would be ‘the largest reorganisation in the company’s history.’
According to news in the Austrian media, it plans to make 500 workers redundant as it claims that this would save 1,200 jobs. Company pensions will be reduced and up to 25 percent of salaries could be cut.
SAZKA CEO Robert Chvatal, the majority shareholder in Casinos Austria, said: “This is about saving a company that is in an extremely difficult situation due to its structure and the changed world. We do not want to sell casinos; we want to make them fit for the future.”
General Director Bettina Glatz-Kremsner said: “The Supervisory Board took an important step today to make Casinos Austria AG fit for the future by 2022. The implementation of the “ReFIT” package of measures presented by us today as the board of directors will be the largest reorganisation in the company’s history, which will secure Casinos Austria’s position as THE gaming provider in Austria in the long term.”
“Like many other companies, Casinos Austria was hit hard by the Corona crisis, which made it necessary for the board, the supervisory board and the owners to act quickly and responsibly. Especially because the expected consequences from Corona will also pose great difficulties for us in the near future. But even before the Corona crisis, there was a clear need for action due to the changed framework conditions in our casinos and also at the headquarters and not least because of the smoking ban,” she added.
The two main owners’ representatives are both pleased with the strategy and make it clear they are completely behind the direction they have chosen.
Thomas Schmid, board member of the ÖBAG stated: “It is not about politics or the nationality of the shareholders. It’s not about maximising profits, but about avoiding future losses. It is about saving a company that is in an extremely difficult situation due to its structure and the changed world. We don’t want to sell casinos, we want to make them fit for the future. We support the ReFIT recommendation of the team of experts headed by Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, who worked hard on this plan for several weeks. The concept is based on facts, figures and great judgement as well as valuable inputs from other markets. But it also takes into account the company’s employees by saving 1200 jobs. The management team has our full support to make the company fit again.
“We trust the CASAG management project under the leadership of Bettina Glatz-Kremsner. ÖBAG was particularly committed to preserving as many jobs as possible and all 12 casino locations. It is important to us to carry out the planned measures in a socially acceptable manner and with the involvement of the works council.
“The management assured us that in view of the great challenges for CASAG, the restructuring of the company is essential. The company can only remain successful if the proposed measures are implemented. CASAG is an important company in ÖBAG’s portfolio. As a major tour operator and taxpayer, the company makes a significant contribution to Austria as a business location. The long-term increase in the value of the stake and player protection are central cornerstones of a successful corporate strategy at CASAG.”
The cornerstones of the restructuring concept are:
- Ensuring the profitability of the terrestrial casino business in Austria in order to sustain the locations and secure jobs.
- Saving a total of over €40m by reducing material and personnel costs in the casinos and headquarters.
- Efficiency increase through reorganisation of the casino operations and the headquarters.
- Strategic realignment and redimensioning of individual casino locations.
- Reduction in the number of employees and average salary costs.
- If the implementation is successful, the 12 casino locations will remain in accordance with the present concept.
- Stronger operational separation of casino operations from other areas of the group and creation of a lean, independent headquarters.
A mechanism for implementation is now underway, with Friday’s decision on the “ReFIT” concept. Measures for step-by-step management are incorporated within the context of internal project and working groups to fulfil the criteria of the restructuring principle. In addition, there are other ways to recognise and boost productivity gains and savings potential in the other areas of the business.
In consultation, the board of directors must reach the best possible agreements with the employee representatives to allow all employees to enforce the necessary steps.
“The upcoming weeks and months will be challenging and difficult. If the present concept is successfully implemented, not only will the company be stronger and more successful than ever, but it will also secure the outstanding position of Casinos Austria and the associated jobs. The employees do an excellent job and have always proven in the past that they are ready to act for the benefit of the company,” concluded Ms Glatz-Kremsner.