September 24, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Panic in large companies: "Stopping production or moving, it can no longer be ruled out"

Panic in large companies: “Stopping production or moving, it can no longer be ruled out”

Because the price of gas quadrupled in July and August, many large Belgian companies are gradually escaping. That’s what Peter Claes, a spokesperson for companies that need a lot of power, says.

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen at least half of Febeliec’s member companies (Belgian Confederation of Energy-Intensive Companies, ed.) On the phone to say that rising gas and electricity prices had become unsustainable for them. Peter Claes, Vibelek’s manager, doesn’t mind the fact that the situation is particularly dangerous. Companies are in survival mode. They are now looking into what to do. close. to move the house. It can no longer be ruled out.

This was made clear during a press conference on Wednesday morning by Gert Vanovelin, the top man at the Alvans aluminum plant in Deauville. He explained that losses are inevitable for the rest of the year. “We are still producing, but our sales markets are calming down and at the same time our products are becoming more expensive due to higher energy costs.”

Rising energy prices force companies to stop production

According to Claes, production has become nearly impossible for many companies. It is reported that after the Aperam stainless steel plant, other companies are considering stopping or reducing production. If gas prices remain high for a long time, this will inevitably lead to the transfer of industrial activities from Belgium and all of Europe to other regions of the world.

His conclusion is that it will lead to massive impoverishment. Claes estimates that if gas prices remain at their current high level throughout 2023, the Belgians will have to spend an additional €45 billion for their gas consumption. This is equivalent to 10 per cent of Belgium’s GDP. In other words: ten percent of our country’s wealth is in danger of disappearing.

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According to Vebelik, the only real way out of the current energy crisis is for the price of gas to fall sharply. Claes immediately admits: “It’s not easy.” Lowering the price of gas means negotiating with gas producers about lower prices or a price cap. The openness to negotiations on the conclusion of long-term contracts for the supply of natural gas. This should be done in the short term. This seems impossible, but it should be. Every longer day means Europe and Belgium are bleeding and the chances of many businesses surviving are dwindling.