COVID-19: Germany’s Manz resumes operations in Italian storage sector

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German energy storage and solar PV firm Manz is to resume operations in its facilities in Italy in a bid to recover the industry from the COVID-19 crisis.

The company says it will implement proper measures to protect its employees from contracting coronavirus.

Manz is resuming operations at its development site for lithium-ion batteries and capacitors in Italy following a similar reactivation of activities at its German locations on April 14.

The basis for resuming production in Italy is a decree by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that added the production of lithium-ion batteries and capacitors to a list of essential business activities.

However, in line with the recommendations of the Italian government, all employees who are not directly involved in production continue to work from home.

Manz chief executive Martin Drasch: “We are happy about the Italian government’s decision that allows us to fully resume business operations in Italy. This shows that we are excellently positioned in the growth market for future-oriented battery technology, and that we will use our many years of experience to further advance this segment.”

Commenting on the development, Somik Das, a power analyst at GlobalData, said that around 75 per cent of Manz’s employees in Reutlingen and Tàƒ¼bingen returned to work after the holiday weekend. This allowed the company to continue processing current orders. The company’s board will continue monitoring the pandemic and will make additional changes to work practices as the situation with the outbreak changes.”

In March 2020, Manz reported that revenue dropped by nearly 11 per cent year-on-year to €264.4m and its net income plunged by roughly 29.8 per cent.

Das said the decline in performance was due to project delays from the customer end and the postponement of major investments in the European battery production space. “Currently, it would be difficult for Manz to provide a concrete forecast for 2020, due to the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic. It is expected that as the pandemic situation changes its course, the company will change its 2020 plans accordingly with countermeasures to minimize the damage caused by COVID-19.

“Meanwhile the company is taking care of its employees in the best possible manner. Just like many other organizations, it is ensuring social distancing measures are rightly implemented.

“This is in line with giants like Ford, who in turn has prepared social distancing bands, that vibrate on an individual when they’re in the close vicinity of a group. With such measures in place, these organizations are sure to maintain their production and curb the infection rate simultaneously.”

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