The cost of energy “represents 40% of our turnover, it is impossible to continue producing”José-Luis Llacuna, the president of the Duralex glassware company, explains on Friday September 2 on franceinfo that he decided to put himself on hold for four months “minimum” production in its factory located in La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin in Loiret. A large part of the company’s 250 employees will be partially unemployed as of November 1. “A priori, if we put the oven on hold, if we carry out a partial stoppage, if we turn around to cross this tunnel and if things stabilize, society will survive from the year 2023”He waited.
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franceinfo: What does “put your production on hold” mean?
Jose-Luis Llacuna: We are a glass furnace that cannot stop because the glass is at risk of freezing. In this huge pool, we heat silica to 1,500 degrees. This heating process generates a very high energy consumption. But given this impressive price increase that began last year and was greatly exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, we must be held accountable.
“For purely economic reasons, because the prices of electricity and gas endanger the company and employment, we are forced to put this oven on standby.”José-Luis Llacuna, president of the Duralex glass company
We will stop production but we will leave the furnace alive and breathing, since a total stoppage would represent the technical death of the entire company.
What is the cost of energy in its production?
From the beginning of 2021 and it is planned until 2023, electricity prices are multiplied by 22, gas prices by 18.
“Energy represented between 5 and 7% of our turnover a year ago. Today it represents 40%.”Jose-Luis Llacuna
Suffice it to say that at these prices it is impossible to continue producing and this endangers the sustainability of companies.
Are your employees going to all be partially unemployed?
As of November 1, all 250 Duralex employees will unfortunately be partially unemployed. Of course, some will be less affected because we continue with our commercial activity, our logistics activity. We have sufficient stocks to supply all customers without problems during the furnace shutdown period, which is planned for a minimum period of four months. Being four months the period in which the peaks in the prices of energy and, in particular, of electricity, are expected to be the highest in our recent modern history.
Are you sure you can resume activity in the spring?
The absurdity of this situation is that society works. The company is doing well. It is progressing in billing by 30 to 40% for this year compared to last year. We have already been able to acquire energy for the second quarter of next year. We acquire energy at very high but acceptable prices, which have nothing to do with the prices to which we will be subjected during the months of November, December, January, February and March of next year. We will be able to produce in difficult but acceptable conditions.
The survival of your company is not threatened?
Everything will also depend on the evolution of demand. How will the consumer react to this very distressing period, which is actually generating a significant drop in demand in certain categories? But a priori, if we put the oven on standby, if we develop a partial stoppage, if we turn our backs, to cross that tunnel, normally, if things stabilize, we should have a clear vision that society will survive from the year 2023 But we are not immune to other surprises.
Are you asking for the return of state aid like so much of the Covid-19?
We must knock on all doors. We need help. The entire glass sector, but also the entire energy-intensive French sector, needs to find solutions and mechanisms to buy electricity and gas at a different price. There are mechanisms today, but they are largely insufficient in view of this sky-high price.
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