Consumer advocates criticize voucher solutions for canceled trips

Frankfurt The corona crisis turns the lives of citizens and entrepreneurs upside down. Strolling through the shops, eating out, attending concerts, traveling – all forbidden. Against this background, different types of vouchers are currently being offered to consumers. They are intended to compensate for the costs of travel and events that have already been booked – or to support retailers and restaurants during the time of shop closure. What consumers have to consider.

Cultural and sporting events are canceled nationwide. As a result, customers cannot use their concert tickets, theater tickets or soccer season tickets. In such cases, the federal government decided at the beginning of April that organizers may issue vouchers to customers and that they would be valid until the end of 2021. If consumers don’t redeem them by then, organizers will have to pay the money out. The approval of the Bundestag is still pending. According to the previous rules, organizers had to refund the money two weeks after a cancellation.

The rule should apply to tickets bought before March 8th. It also applies to season tickets, such as museums and gyms. The government’s aim is to protect companies so that they do not run into liquidity shortages through a large number of recoveries.

Consumer advocates, on the other hand, criticize the planned new regulation. Klaus Müller, board member of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), complains that consumers are burdened in an “unreasonable and unfair way”. He also complains that vouchers are not covered in the event of a bankruptcy. Should a provider go bankrupt, consumers will probably be left at the expense.

It is also controversial whether such a new regulation could even apply retrospectively. However, there are also providers who have already paid back ticket prices or at least have announced this. A prominent example: The Bundesliga soccer club Borussia Dortmund recently said that it offers ticket refunds to all fans – and at the same time thanked those who waived their claim.

Canceled trips

There is a lot of struggle as to whether tour operators can also issue vouchers to their customers instead of reimbursing the costs, as was previously the case. After all, holiday trips are not possible for the time being, and mostly this involves large sums. The so-called Corona cabinet of the federal government decided that the voucher solution should also apply to package tours and plane tickets. The government is now trying to ensure that a corresponding regulation that runs counter to current EU law is allowed.

Consumer advocates are sharply attacking the advance. “We simply consider this inadmissible,” says VZBV travel law expert Felix Methmann. He insists that funds already paid will be returned to customers within two weeks of the cancellation. “The national legislator must not violate the European package travel directive.”

Methmann demands that the travel industry be helped with a travel security fund that is set up specifically for this purpose. “This has to be dealt with quickly now,” he says.

Roughly speaking, the federal government would set up a fund from which travel companies can withdraw money for repayments to customers. The companies would have to repay these funds to the fund within a few years.

The VZBV legal expert points out that even in this case, vouchers would not be protected against bankruptcy and that customers might not receive any consideration in return. “We fear that issuing vouchers will only postpone the problem for tour operators. After the crisis, when customers redeem the vouchers, the companies don’t get any fresh money either. ”

Some tour operators are already paying back easily. Others embrace customers by granting a credit for their next vacation in addition to the voucher.

If there are difficulties with the repayment, Marija Linnhoff, chairwoman of the association of independent, independent travel agencies, advises not to let go: “In such cases, customers have to write to the tour operator themselves – sometimes several times,” says Linnhoff.

“I can only recommend customers: If you want your money, stay steadfast and if necessary point out that you should hire a lawyer.” Even those who have received a voucher from the organizer without being asked and would prefer the money should, according to Linnhoff, ” send it back immediately and insist on repayment ”.

Voucher from local dealers

Restaurants and shops have been closed for more than four weeks, as have cafes, hairdressers and theaters. Some stores are allowed to reopen this Monday under strict conditions. Hairdressers have to wait until May 4th, and restaurants remain closed indefinitely.

In order to support local companies, various internet portals have been created over the past few weeks, on which consumers can buy vouchers from their favorite shops. The idea: You pay the voucher now, provide the company with liquidity and help so that it can open again according to the Corona restrictions.

One of these platforms is called “”, a similar offer, “”, was developed by the financial start-up Optiopay and is being used by the retail group metro supported. There are also regionally limited providers such as “” in the Rhine-Main region. The platforms charge a fee for their services. At “” the customer pays an additional four percent of the voucher value for processing. At Optiopay, almost four percent are usually charged to the retailer.

The users usually receive the vouchers by email. Oliver Buttler, expert for consumer law at the Baden-Württemberg Consumer Center, explains the validity period: “A voucher is generally valid for three years. For example, if a season ticket is involved and the price rises within these three years, the consumer may have to pay the surcharge himself. ”

However, some of the platforms differ: With “”, the vouchers should be valid for at least three years. At Optiopay, on the other hand, retailers can individually decide on the validity, so vouchers that are only valid for one or two years are also common. The provider bases the flexibility on the fact that the offers are subject to price fluctuations.

At the same time, vouchers from local companies also run the risk of customers being left empty-handed. Buttler warns: “The customer bears the risk in the event of insolvency.” The cooperative insurer R + V also discovered the lack of insolvency protection. Last week he launched the “VR-ExtraPlus Hilft” portal – a separate variant of the “Hilfelokal” platform. Vouchers for a maximum of 10,000 euros are secured for each company. However, the sum can be reached quickly. According to R + V, it reserves the right to raise it later.

More: This is how insurance customers can save in the corona crisis.


Confession of the patient with the coronavirus: “Nothing helps at all!”

Freshman magistrate Anar Huseynov shared unpleasant sensations

“Anar, you must have had the flu before.” Are there any features of the coronavirus?

– For the first time it was with me so that the temperature did not stray from antipyretic drugs, but only grew. Nothing helps at all! And you don’t feel any smells at all – how it snapped. And for some reason the neck was very sore – not the throat, but the neck.

“Where do you think you could get infected?”

– Most likely in the subway. I didn’t wear a mask, I thought it’s better to get sick than to be afraid of no one knows how long until the epidemic is over.

– When did you get sick?

– For the first time I felt bad on March 16. There was weakness, aches in the whole body, the temperature rose, although at first it was not very high, up to 37.5 degrees. Because of this, at first I was treated myself: I drank tea with lemon, a lot of water. But it did not get better, but only worse. My chills were beating, the temperature was rising, and on March 19 in the morning, when she jumped to 38.5 degrees and felt completely ill, I called an ambulance.

“Did they come quickly?”

– Yes. But the doctors just did the analysis: they took a swab from the mouth and nostrils, but they didn’t take me right away. And on the 22nd they called and said: the result on the coronavirus is positive, they will soon come to pick me up. While I was traveling, I packed up – I took some of the things, books and notebooks to read in the hospital and for the soul, and to practice English. An ambulance arrived – the doctors are all in protective suits, in masks, just like in a movie. The people in the MGRI dormitory just stuck to the windows to watch me being taken away with a suitcase. By the way, after that two floors were quarantined at once in the hostel, but, fortunately, no one else got sick.

– You were taken to Kommunarka?

– No, to the hospital in Tsaritsyno, where before the epidemic, patients with cerebral palsy were treated, and now they began to place patients with coronavirus. True, as I learned later, this is only for those who are ill in a mild form. But still they kept me there for 14 days, until April 4. And they released only after they did 4 tests and made sure that there was no more infection.

– How was it treated?

– I still felt very ill in the ambulance, and when I told the doctors about it, they immediately gave me an injection and gave me a paracetamol tablet. In general, we weren’t stuffed with drugs in the hospital in vain – and there’s no medicine for the flu, either. But the doctors watched our condition very carefully. They constantly took smears, examined us, measured the temperature several times a day — sisters used ordinary thermometers, and doctors remotely. And who was increasing, they immediately called an ambulance and sent to Kommunarka. For example, there were four of us in my room, and one man complained that he was feeling very bad, coughing very badly, that he had a high fever, and before that he had had hepatitis. He was immediately taken away by ambulance.

“Were there many of you in the hospital?”

– The hospital is large – three floors, and all are given to patients with coronavirus. So, there probably were about two hundred of us there. – They say that coronavirus is also terrible for its complications.

– How do you feel now?

– Perfectly! It seems to have done without consequences.

– Have you started doing online already?

– Now I’ll rest a little more, and then I will continue to study.


Metro withdraws fiscal year targets due to virus crisis

Metro CEO Olaf Koch

The retail group initially does not want to publish a new forecast.

(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf The retail group Metro withdraws its outlook for the current financial year due to the corona virus. The Group justified this in a communication with a clearly negative overall development in terms of sales and earnings since mid-March.

The reason is the regulatory measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which significantly restricted public life in many countries in which the company operates. The company expects that with the current restrictions, each month will lead to sales losses of around EUR 500 million.


Food chains install cash shields, raise wages in response to coronavirus pandemic – National

Food chains across Canada are adapting to rising demand in their stores during the new coronavirus pandemic by raising wages for workers and installing plexiglass.

Loblaws temporarily increases wages by around 15%, while Metro increases wages by $ 2 an hour.

Coronavirus: Major Canadian grocery stores will offer special hours for seniors to stock up

In a statement, Loblaws CEO Galen Weston said: “We have made the decision to temporarily increase the fees for colleagues in our stores and distribution centers by approximately 15% retroactive to March 8 in recognition of their exceptional and ongoing efforts to keep our stores open and operating so effectively. “

He said grocery store supermarkets and pharmacies are “doing well” and that this is a way of “making sure that a significant portion of that benefit will go directly into their workers’ pockets.”

The story continues under the announcement

Stuck in the house? Ideas for staying busy during isolation

Stuck in the house? Ideas for staying busy during isolation

Likewise, Metro – which runs around 950 stores, including Food Basics – said in a statement that its employees in stores and distribution centers will receive an additional $ 2 an hour from March 8 to May 2.

“They work in a particularly difficult situation and have worked very long to serve our customers,” Metro said in a statement to Global News.

“In this context, an additional $ 2 / hour will be paid to these employees for the period of March 8 through May 2.”

Do you want the delivery of the shopping? Options across Canada during the coronavirus epidemic

Canadian unions representing more than 41,000 food retail workers praised the decision and invited more employers to do the same.

“It is encouraging to see another major retailer recognize the important work done by these frontline retailers to keep people fueled by this crisis,” said Shawn Haggerty, president of UCFCW Local 175.

Local grocery store owners say there is no shortage of toilet paper

Local grocery store owners say there is no shortage of toilet paper

Loblaws has also started installing plexiglass shields at checkout counters and is looking to acquire multiple personal protective equipment for its employees.

“We continue to work around the clock to ensure medical grade masks, hand sanitizer and gloves for store colleagues in the face of a global shortage of all three,” Weston wrote in another statement this week.

The story continues under the announcement

A look at the mathematics behind the social distancing between coronaviruses

Metro is installing plexiglass protections on the front and on the service counters in all its stores.

“The work is expected to be completed in the coming days,” said the company.

“We will also implement other measures to strengthen social distance in the coming days, including limiting the number of customers in our stores if necessary.”

Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada

Sobeys is also installing plexiglass shields at the checkout counters.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Friday, Sobeys CEO Michael Medline said the chain is installing them “as quickly as possible”.

The story continues under the announcement

Sobeys workers also wash their hands every 15 minutes and install markers on the floor at the payment lines, to make sure each customer is two meters away from another on the line.

To make shopping safer for more vulnerable people, Sobeys spent the first hour of his day working with the elderly.

Volunteers helping to deliver groceries to Saskatoon amid COVID-19

Volunteers helping to deliver groceries to Saskatoon amid COVID-19

Loblaws also announced a similar move.

“We are prepared for this and to support those most in need, we are opening some of our stores in advance with dedicated hours for the elderly and people with disabilities who will be in front of the crowd,” said Galen Weston, executive president of Loblaw Companies Limited a letter to PC Optimum members on Wednesday.

Flatten the curve: how a graphic has become a battle cry against the coronavirus

In addition to Zehrs, Loblaws also controls stores that operate under various banners, including No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Fortinos, Valumart, Freshmart and Provigo, among others.

– With files from Global News reporter Kevin Nielsen


The New York health department gets graphics in the coronavirus sexual memo

Something more sacred ?!

As a sign of these strange times, the city’s Department of Health issued an extraordinarily blunt reminder of how to stay clean as it gets dirty during the global coronavirus pandemic.

That’s right: the government wants in your bedroom.

First of all, his list of two pages of suggestions: sex is safer for yourself.

“Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after”, wrote the department.

Good news, however, “COVID-19 has not yet been found in seminal or vaginal fluid,” says the warning, adding that feces carry the virus and that sexual acts involving mouth-anal contact can spread the coronavirus.

If you have sex with another human being, make sure it is “with people close to you”, like someone you live with.

If sex with strangers is your passion, the agency suggests that “video dates, sexting or chat rooms might be the options for you.”

Condoms and detergents are more important than ever, notes the memo, which has since been removed.


Wall Street opens higher – Boeing shares stop series of losses

New York / Düsseldorf The optimistic mood on Wall Street only lasted a few hours on Friday. US equity markets did not join the recovery trend on the European and Asian stock exchanges and ended one of the darkest weeks in their history.

The prices turned negative because many investors became nervous again due to tightened exit regulations in cities like New York and London and avoided the risk before the weekend.

The US leading index Dow Jones closed more than 900 points or 4.6 percent lower to 19,174 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.8 percent to 6880 points. The broad S&P 500 lost 4.4 percent to 2305 points. In a weekly comparison, the Dow slumped by more than 17 percent, the Nasdaq by more than twelve percent and the S&P almost 15 percent.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo imposed new exit restrictions so that more state residents can stay at home and the coronavirus can spread less quickly. This also reduces the options for daily shopping.

“I don’t think we’re over the top,” said portfolio manager Lamar Villere of Villere Balanced Fund. “Most people have not yet been tested for the corona virus, so the extent of the spread is unknown or is not understood. If this number increases, there is a possibility of increasing caution among investors. ”

A number of additional monetary policy measures by the US central bank had already supported the US stock markets on Thursday. Investors are now expecting further monetary policy measures in the next few days if the Senate approves a $ 1 trillion package that includes direct financial aid to Americans.

The volatility in the financial markets in all regions and asset classes is at a record level, the analysts of the US stock market operator S&P Global found. Historically, the only comparison for market sellouts was the 2008 financial crash.

On Friday, the trading volume on the US stock exchanges was particularly high due to the so-called witch’s sabbath. Options and futures fall on that day, so investors try to move prices in the direction that suits them best.

Once again, investors switched to the US bond market at the end of the week. Yields on ten-year bonds fell to their lowest this week. The US dollar also fell. On the oil market, prices for the North Sea Brent and US light oil came under pressure again after hopes of an intervention by US President Donald Trump to settle the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia were initially not fulfilled. The US companies in the shale oil industry in particular are suffering from the discount battle on the oil market.

Look at the individual values

The shares of airlines that have been hardest hit in the past few days are starting to recover on Friday. American Airlines rose by almost one percent and United Airlines by a good 15 percent.

MGM Resorts’ share certificates increased by around 23 percent, leading the list of airlines, hotels and cruise lines.

For the shares of General Electric it went up 0.6 percent. The US competition authority approved the sale of the conglomerate’s biopharmaceutical business to its competitors Danaher. Its papers lost 0.3 percent.

Genmark’s share price jumped rapidly by around 30 percent. The US emergency approval of a coronavirus test triggered a run on the titles.

The prospect of using a malaria agent to combat the coronavirus gave the manufacturer Mylan an increase of 2.6 percent. According to the pharmaceutical company, the drug is not yet approved for use against the pathogen Covid-19, the World Health Organization sees the drug as a candidate for this. The production of the agent is ramped up.

General Electric shares rose 0.6 percent. The US competition authority approved the sale of the conglomerate’s biopharmaceutical business to its competitor Danaher. Its papers lost 0.3 percent.

At Uber, which rose by 4.1 percent, the shares were upgraded to “Overweight” Wells Fargo positively noticeable. The company also assured that it had a solid financial cushion.

The BoeingStock initially gained over three percent after being in free fall for four days following a complete collapse in the aerospace sector that had been stalled by the coronavirus pandemic. At the close, the securities closed 2.76 percent in the wake of the weaker overall market.

The US telecommunications group broke the suspension of the planned share buyback program AT&T a minus of almost nine percent. The company said the economic consequences of the pandemic for the company are still uncertain.

Thanks to ongoing takeover speculation, Sysco’s securities initially shot up by around 12 percent, but lost all of their profits and closed just under five percent lower. The head of the German retail group metro, Olaf Koch, was open to a takeover by the US wholesaler according to “Manager Magazin” and confirmed for the first time discussions between the two companies.

The euro fell below the $ 1.07 level in US trade after having traded above it in European business. The most recent currency was $ 1.0665. The European Central Bank (ECB) had set the reference rate at $ 1.0707 (Thursday: 1.0801). The dollar had thus cost 0.9340 (0.9258) euros. Trend-setting ten-year US government bonds rose 2 21/32 points to 106 1/32 points. They paid 0.87 percent.

With agency material

More: Comparison of stock market crises


The New Jersey family destroyed by coronavirus searches for answers

Surviving members of the New Jersey family ravaged by the coronavirus ask for answers while two brothers remained in sustenance in a New Jersey hospital.

Bridget Fusco Betlow, the family’s fifth daughter, told The Post on Thursday that she was overwhelmed by the fatal impact that the coronavirus is having on her family.

“I’m insensitive. I don’t even know what to try,” said Bridget Fusco Betlow, 52, in a short telephone interview.

“My mother, brother and sister are all gone and we have no answers.”

Fusco Betlow, one of 11 children, spoke to The Post a few hours before the death of Vincent Fusco, the fourth member of the family to die of disease.

Her sister Elizabeth Fusco, said in CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” that the family is still waiting for the test results for a sister in serious condition.

“Doctors don’t know if it’s positive and how they treat someone, if [they don’t] have test results, “said Elizabeth.

A third brother hospitalized in Elizabeth is in stable condition, her cousin and family lawyer Roseann Paradiso told CNN.

The family is also waiting for the results of the tests conducted Saturday to 19 other relatives, including spouses and children of the victims, according to Paradiso.

“Nobody ever expected a family of 11 to be decimated in this way,” said Paradiso. “We have a long way to go.”

Elizabeth described the heartache that her family suffered with four deaths from the virus since Thursday.

“It’s like the second we start crying for one, the phone rings and there’s another person gone, taken by us forever,” he said.

The first victim of the family was Rita, 55, a religion teacher in St. Robert Bellarmine’s co-cathedral in Freehold, who died on Thursday.

The eldest son of the Fusco family, Carmine, 55, died in a hospital in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Later Wednesday evening, the 73-year-old matriarch of the family, Grace Fusco, died without knowing that the virus had already claimed the lives of two of her children, reportedly.


Stress test for companies: The corona shock: How well equipped are German companies?

Providing liquidity is becoming the most important factor in the crisis. The Handelsblatt looks at the balance sheets of 120 companies. .

How well are Germany’s companies prepared?

BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen stop large parts of their car production. The world’s largest tourism group Tui no longer sends vacationers on vacation. The Lufthansa flies only five percent of their program.

Messages unthinkable just a few weeks ago are almost part of everyday life. The fight against lung disease Covid-19 triggers a supply and demand shock in the economy: companies no longer produce, consumers stay at home.

“The comparison with a natural disaster is definitely appropriate,” says the chief economist at Dekabank, Ulrich Kater, “with the difference that we at Corona are dealing with a global situation.”

In the companies, a crisis meeting follows a crisis meeting. Where can you get capital from? Where can savings be made and how? Which suppliers are how liquid? “Every company takes a worst-case approach,” reports Simone Menne, former CFO for Lufthansa, who sits on supervisory boards such as BMW, Deutsche Post and Johnson Control. “That means, depending on the industry, you calculate a certain number of months without a cent in sales and without new loans.”

The Handelsblatt underwent all nearly 120 companies in the stock exchange segments Dax, MDax, SDax and TecDax a balance stress stress test to compare debt, equity and cash flow and to put them in relation. Another decisive factor is profitability, how much of the turnover remains as profit. This expresses the return on sales.

In the crisis, the simple trade maxim is: Cash is King. Kai Lehmann (balance expert Flossbach von Storch)

Cash flow is very important, i.e. the surplus from cash and cash equivalents, which contrasts current income and expenditure. Because even more than in conventional times in the current crisis, according to the balance sheet expert Kai Lehmann from asset manager Flossbach von Storch, the “simple trading maxim: Cash is king!”

The first result is that low interest rates have made companies carefree. Within ten years, the largest listed companies examined have increased their total financial liabilities by a good 400 billion to just under 850 billion euros. According to Handelsblatt calculations, that’s more than ever.

The easier it was for companies to get cheaper and cheaper money, the less discipline they had to save – and the greater their desire to take risks. Conversely, it would be better: “If a company has little debt,” says Lehmann, “the interest burden is also low and there is more room to manage operating expenses.”

A large number of solidly financed companies are faced with a whole range of moderately to weakly and insufficiently capitalized companies. The focus is on the equity ratio. It is about how much of the equity is in the total capital. The higher the number, the better the financial stability and thus independence from banks and bondholders.

Solidly funded companies like Adidas, Merck or Heidelberg Cement have an equity ratio of more than 30 percent. Less than 20 percent – this applies to ten companies – are considered critical. Pleasing: 32 companies have more than half of their equity in terms of total assets. That alone is considered to be very solid and sufficiently financed to survive drops on the revenue side.


Six companies even have a quota of over 75 percent. The biotechnology specialist has the highest equity ratios Morphosys, the electronics company Aixtron and the internet start-up investment company Rocket Internet with more than 80 percent each.

By contrast, Lufthansa is poorly financed with an equity ratio of only 20 percent. This is especially true in times like now, when 80 percent of European and 90 percent of intercontinental flights have been canceled. But Lufthansa reacted immediately and increased its liquid funds from 3.7 to 4.3 billion euros compared to the previous quarter. In addition, the group claims to have unused credit lines of 800 million euros.

As a precautionary measure, Europe’s largest airline is talking to the government about state aid. The prospects are good because the grand coalition of CDU / CSU and SPD wants to help the companies affected by the corona crisis.

A drastically increased guarantee framework at the State Bank KfW could make half a trillion euros available, according to Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier. “There is no upper limit on the loan amount,” added Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, “we said that this should be unlimited.”

A three-stage plan should help: starting with guarantees and KfW loans against short-term liquidity problems. The development bank of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, the NRW-Bank, has already received over 1000 inquiries from companies, including stand builders, restaurants, event companies and travel agencies.

If the economic consequences worsen, the government is considering economic stimulus programs up to temporary state holdings in strategically important companies. With all willingness to help, many questions and problems arise for supplicants.

In principle, companies do not have to fear for their existence. The balance sheets provide information about who might be dependent on aid and loans in the near future. Take Airbus, for example: The European joint venture only achieved an equity ratio of five percent in the past quarter – and is therefore underfunded.

“There will be fewer orders in 2020,” said airbus-Chef Guillaume Faury before the French Senate. The aircraft manufacturer received no new orders in February. If the crisis worsens, Europeans should help financially with their prestige property.

Well prepared, the many small and medium-sized companies are going into a downturn away from the stock exchange. This is borne out by the calculations of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV) available to the Handelsblatt.

These are based on evaluations of data from several hundred thousand company balance sheets, which represent 50 percent of the total company turnover in Germany and are therefore of general economic significance. According to this, sales in the decade since the last major crisis year 2009 rose by a good 50, profits even by more than 100 percent.

The companies used the boom years to improve their financial cushion. Evidence of this is the equity ratio, which is at an all-time high of just under 39 percent. In the year before the 2008 financial crisis, it was a good four percentage points less. The automotive supplier Elring-Klinger increased its equity ratio from 36 percent (2008) to 41 percent in the past financial year. Debt fell from 124 to just four million euros.

This creates air in the severe crisis of the supplier industry. The family-run producer of lubricants Fuchs Petrolub His already high equity increased again sharply: the ratio rose from 45 to 77 percent. Operating profit before taxes and after interest rose by 135 percent to EUR 382 million within ten years. Debt fell from 124 to just four million euros.

There are also winners

No need to worry if you have enough reserves, a lot of equity and if possible no debt. Just like the brand manufacturer Beiersdorf. The people of Hamburg are fine, their products like Nivea, Tesa and Labello are relatively independent of the crisis.

The Bonn telecom giant is also doing well. It is Deutsche Telekom Highly indebted due to immense investments in new technologies and expenditure for customer acquisition. Net financial liabilities increased from 55.4 to 76 billion euros in one year in 2019. The equity ratio is also just under 19 percent.

In order to repay at least part of the debt and to make future investments, the group lowers the dividend despite the high cash flow of ten billion euros in the past financial year. That shows financial foresight.

Telekom does not have to fear loss of revenue as a result of the crisis. On the contrary: because more people stay and work at home, the need for paid internet services is increasing.

Also Team viewer is in a comfortable location – despite its poor equity ratio of only ten percent. The newcomer to the stock exchange and specialist for services related to home office has been seeing increased demand for its software for remote maintenance, file transfer and video conferencing for weeks. The number of connections in China has tripled since the outbreak of the corona virus.

But such “untouchables” are the exception rather than the rule. Is struck Ceconomy, known by the old name Mediasaturn. Three key indicators call for caution. With an equity ratio of 9.4 in the past quarter, the company is financially weak.

With every euro of sales Ceconomy only achieved a pre-tax profit of 1.1 cents last year. On top of that, the company would need 82 years to pay off its debts from its cash flow. That is long. More than 15 years are considered a lot.

The key figure is calculated from total liabilities minus cash and short-term securities in relation to cash flow. The smaller the number, the faster a company can pay off its debt from self-generated earnings.

Handelsblatt Morning Briefing - Corona Spezial

Even on the health specialist Fresenius After billions in takeovers in recent years, total debt of 27 billion euros. This was offset by a profit of 7.1 billion euros before taxes, interest and depreciation in the past financial year. The debt is almost four times the profit.

With a few exceptions such as the semiconductor specialist Infineon and the virtually debt-free brand group Beiersdorf, which is run by the Herz family, almost all Dax companies have accumulated more debts than they earned last year before deducting the costs.

The worst among all companies examined Thyssen-Krupp with an equity ratio of just 4.8 percent and a negative return on sales of 0.2 percent. With every euro of sales, the conglomerate burned two cents in the past year.

It would take 417 years for Thyssen-Krupp to pay off its total liabilities using the cash flow generated in 2019. No other company has a longer repayment period – apart from the few companies like Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, which recently did not achieve any cash flow.

Thyssen-Krupp has long been in a critical financial situation. To free itself from it, the conglomerate sold its elevator division for 17.2 billion euros. A good price, as experts unanimously emphasize. However, the traditional company is losing its earnings pearl and is even more dependent on the difficult and often loss-making steel business in the past.

Like Thyssen-Krupp, almost all companies have been preparing for the crisis for a long time – but for the crisis before Corona. In order to react to the global economy, which has been weakening since 2018, the board of directors of the 30 Dax groups launched efficiency programs in autumn and winter 2018/19. You want to cut 100,000 jobs with fluctuation, early retirement and severance payments.

In addition, there are savings programs with which companies want to improve their profits by a total of 20 billion euros each year in the future. This corresponds to almost a third of the total net profit in the past financial year. So strokes Bayer 12,000 jobs worldwide, that is ten percent of the workforce, to save 2.6 billion euros annually.

Volkswagen plans to cut costs by three billion euros by 2020 and another three billion euros by 2022. At Heidelberg Cement – according to the motto of CEO Bernd Scheifele “Ten percent always go” – one savings program has long followed another – regardless of whether there is a crisis or not.

A year later it is clear that the decisions were correct and above all far-sighted. Because now the global economy is no longer weak, it is in a state of shock.

Savings programs are all the more valuable. They are only now beginning to take effect and will help to ease the tension in future company balance sheets. Sufficient equity capital as a result of greater savings efforts and reduced expenses are the best prerequisites for this.
Author: Ulf Sommer


Golfers hit with new rules amid the coronavirus pandemic

It is a new ball game hole.

Golf is one of the few things people can still do during the coronavirus epidemic – but the new pandemic rules are far from the basis of the course, operators said Thursday.

Players have been hit by a series of anti-germ regulations and etiquette suggestions in the three-state area, ranging from one person’s limit per cart, to no touching flag or to reaching holes for balls.

“We are not encouraging the handshake or the punch, and to keep six feet from each person,” said Chris Mulvihill of the Crystal Springs Golf Resort in Hamburg. “Some people say, whoa, which is extreme but we are trying to be proactive.”

The golf course has released a game-changing list of new rules which includes removing rakes from sand traps and ball washers along with golfers pushing not to end nearby shots to avoid touching the inside of the holes.

The resort also installed “raised holes” that the balls “easily bounce” to urge golfers not to use their hands, Mulvihill said. In addition to disinfecting all the driving range balls between each player, he also opted for a cashless set-up.

General view of a sign at the Chester-le-Street Golf Club as the spread of coronavirus disease continues.
General view of a sign at the Chester-le-Street Golf Club as the spread of coronavirus disease continues.Reuters

Other courses, including Fox Hollow Golf Club and Neshanic Valley Golf Course in New Jersey, urged players to walk instead of driving carts to encourage social removal. Others are urging players to book early, so there is no need to enter the pro shop.

“We are disinfecting the carts between uses, encouraging golfers to drop the flag and pulling our cups slightly so they don’t have to touch and touch them,” said Matthew Galvin, owner of Morningstar Golf and Hospitality in New Jersey.

Its course, the Fox Hollow Golf Club, previously did not have a walking rule which was later demolished. “Now let’s let people walk if they want to,” he said. “That space is good.”

But even with new, more stringent rules, links have been crammed, golf course workers said.

“Tomorrow I have a sheet full of Tee,” said Tom, a pro shop worker at the Neshanic Valley golf course

He said the green was roughly as busy as two weeks ago.

“People are going crazy,” he said. “They are coming here because they can’t take it home anymore!”