Refurbishment of the original factory in Jena started with SCHOTT’s support in 1990. The first stage was the demolition of much of the structural fabric. Very little of it could be saved, since 40 years of socialism with virtually no investment in the factory buildings had left their mark. 225,000 cubic meters of rubble had to be removed from the site. This took 5060 truckloads. Laid out in a line, that would have stretched 32 miles (51 kilometers). That marked the start of the long journey from “glass museum to modern factory”, remarked Meyer. After the demolition of the buildings came the layoffs. 3,700 employees took early retirement or were made redundant. This was not the only attempt to run the business economically.
However, it still ended up operating in the red and suffering an unexpected slump in sales. “With monetary union our traditional markets in the east disappeared completely,” says Meyer. Overnight the monopoly the factory had formerly enjoyed in the astern bloc was replaced by a total lack of buyers. In spite of economic misgivings and obvious uncertainties, SCHOTT decided to return to Jena. In 1991, SCHOTT took over 51 percent of the company’s shares and the management of the business.
Since 1995 it has had the sole responsibility for running the Jena factory, although by no means all of the decisions made at the group’s headquarters in Mainz were greeted with enthusiasm by the Jena workforce. Closing down the production of optical glass at its traditional home in Jena came as a shock for many. The cradle of optical glass suddenly ceased to exist.
Innovative and customer-oriented
SCHOTT Jenaer Glas:Facts and Figures
Sales (FY 99/00): 71 million euros
Investment since ’91: 150 million euros
– “Ceran” Processing
– Household Glassware
– Special Float Glass