Exclusive Exclusive: Porcelain Manufacturer Meissen in Restructuring

German porcelain manufacturer Meissen may undergo a major restructuring, including jettisoning a large portion of its product line, in a bid to return the centuries-old company to profitability, its new chief executive Tillmann Blaschke has told Handelsblatt. In an interview, Mr. Blaschke said that no area of the business would remain untouched. He intended to look at “which products are a good fit for Meissen, which are more successful and which are less successful in the market, and which are profitable.” On the chopping block could be a variety of recent product lines introduced under his predecessor Christian Kurtzke, who had sought to turn the world-famous porcelain maker into an international luxury and lifestyle firm. Mr. Kurtzke’s expansion included launching a high-end fashion and furniture business . “It is our task to achieve a significant improvement of profit over the next three years,” said Mr. Blaschke. The restructuring moves would aim to push the loss-making firm “close to the operating profit threshold,” he added. Mr. Blaschke took over the state-owned Meissen in 2015 after the company posted a €19-million loss the previous year. One of his first moves was to fire the head of the firm’s Italian division, which was responsible for rolling out the new furniture, fashion and accessories line and a major reason for Meissen plunging into the red in 2014. “What I found in Italy required these drastic steps in order to not endanger the entire company,” he said about his move. A spokesperson for the finance ministry of Saxony, the eastern German state that owns Meissen, said the state still stands by its investment. But the spokesperson said the state expected more details about how the new strategy will return the company to sustainability.   Read the full story in Wednesday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Picture Source: DPA