In accordance with the current press law, we are obliged to publish counter statements, regardless of their truth or contents. We herewith comply with this legal requirement. In this case, it refers to our report: MRO provider AMTES facing closure, published on August 30, 2020.
The counter statement requested by AMTES GmbH reads as follows:
“AMTES GmbH is not in the process of liquidation and is not considering closing its business. AMTES GmbH continues to develop its business activities in the airport Leipzig-Halle with a focus on enhancement of the company’s efficiency as well as the development of the customer relations in the region.
AMTES GmbH is a reliable partner for its customers including Volga-Dnepr Group.
Recent decisions related to business optimization together with the changes in a management team are proactive measures taken to timely respond and adapt to the new conditions and trends of the global market.”
That is the extent of the company’s explanation
With respect to this counter statement, we wrote to the AMTES management, requesting a written response to these questions by Saturday evening:
- Have the employees been registered for short-time work?
- If so, who is affected – all of them, or are there differences between the groups of employees?
- Have ABC/Volga-Dnepr’s maintenance deals migrated from Leipzig to Sharjah, where V-D maintenance is located? If so, to what extent and for what reason?
- Are discussions taking place between V-D/ABC and DHL for the transfer of the Leipzig hangar (leased by AMTES) to the Deutsche Post subsidiary?
Here is the reaction of the AMTES management (Kristina Werwein): “As far as your four questions are concerned, we ask for your understanding that AMTES GmbH, like all corporations, treats economically sensitive data confidentially even in times of the Corona pandemic and does not publish them.”
We do this on our own, based on research.
Ongoing loss of business
AMTES has been experiencing financial difficulties for quite a while. The company mainly relied on cash flows stemming from the maintenance of Ruslan Salis freighters, a former joint venture of Volga-Dnepr and Antonov Airlines. This collapsed in late 2018. When Volga-Dnepr withdrew its AN-124 freighters from LEJ, AMTES lost its largest maintenance, repair, and overhaul deal. Since then, MRO operations have been limited to the occasional technical maintenance of B747 freighters from V-D’s subsidiary, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), the re-launched London-based CargoLogicAir, and the 3 B737-400 P2F aircraft from newcomer CargoLogicGermany (CLG).
The situation deteriorated, however, after ABC had significantly reduced its Leipzig presence compared to previous years, which means fewer orders. And CLG is not a serious substitute for the AN-124 freighters that Volga-Dnepr had permanently stationed in LEJ as part of the Ruslan Salis mission to carry out transport orders for the EU and certain NATO states. It is significant that the last published annual result is from 2018 and shows a surplus of 338 thousand euros.
Only internal, hardly any external customers
For AMTES, which is legally independent but belongs to the Volga-Dnepr group's cosmos, the loss of the Ruslan Salis joint venture largely marked the end of orders from the V-D group. This is because the Base Maintenance of the ABC/V-D fleet, which was previously carried out by AMTES, has mostly been transferred to V-D’s technical shops in Sharjah (UAE) and Ulyanovsk (Russia). Consequently, the once lush flow of cross-subsidies, filling AMTES’ coffers, has now become a trickle.
In order to keep themselves above water, in addition to the usual line maintenance such as for the CLG fleet, third-party business should be acquired, for example C-Checks of Boeing or Airbus freighters of western airlines. AMTES is entitled to do this because it is certified as per Part 145 of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Washington-based FAA. There has been the odd customer making use of this service, yet this did not lead to sustainable business due to the lack of orders from external airlines.
Lack of order leads to a chain reaction
Taking all this into account, it is likely that the MRO provider is in significant financial difficulties, as we already illustrated in our report a week ago. According to witnesses, short-time work has been declared and negotiations are taking place between DHL and the V-D group regarding the use of the AMTES hangar at Leipzig Airport. The service provider has a long-term lease on this from the airport operator, Leipzig sources speak of 30 years. However, due to the slump in orders, the means to continue to run it are probably lacking. This is also evidenced by the fact that AMTES has registered short-time work for their staff, as sources confirmed to CargoForwarder Global.
No. AMTES is not insolvent. We apologize for this claim. However, the company is in enormous difficulties and it is completely unclear what future it has. Perhaps no longer as a provider of base maintenance, but just as an apron service provider in the field of line maintenance. The approximately 70 employees of their Leipzig facility deserve to be informed by the management.
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