It seems the Eindhoven’s lighting giant’s shot itself in the foot.
Signify can’t have to rely on aid from the Dutch government, reports a local newspaper, ED. In recent weeks, the lighting company checked whether it was eligible to claim emergency state aid. It wanted to use this to cushion the impact of the corona crisis.
This was confirmed by Director, Eric Rondolat, in a Q1 figures explanation. The state aid, NOW (Temporary Employment Bridging Measure) is intended for companies that have seen their turnover fall as a result of the crisis. Under this scheme, companies can be reimbursed up to 90% of their wage costs.
Unfortunately, Signify doesn’t qualify for this assistance. This became clear after consultation with the government, the group confirms to the ED. The company spokesperson didn’t want to elaborate.
Sources close to the company report the reason might be the recent takeover of American industry partner, Cooper Lighting. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of March. Since March, Cooper’s turnover figures have contributed to Signify’s result. The company, therefore, didn’t have a significant drop in revenue.
As a result of the corona crisis, Signify’s local factories and those of its suppliers are at a partial standstill. At the end of March, Signify asked employees to work one day less per week for three months and to surrender one-fifth of their salary. The company said it wanted to try and prevent job losses.
However, trade unions were sharply critical. The measure for the people working for the company’s Dutch branch was converted into a request to buy extra vacation days. For the time being, in the absence of governmental support, Signify hasn’t announced any additional steps for its Dutch employees.
Editor: Melinda Walraven