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23.08.2021
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BIRKENSTOCK invests 50 million euros in Görlitz

Multi-million investment program for the main production site in Görlitz and soon an additional new site for the production of EVA and PU sandals with 1,000 new jobs in Germany in the medium term.

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Linz, August 23, 2021 – Just under three months after the announcement of the partnership with the new majority shareholder L Catterton, BIRKENSTOCK is initiating another million euro investment program for the expansion of its German production sites, thereby making a clear commitment to Germany. At the beginning of the year, BIRKENSTOCK already announced it intended to make investments of around EUR 40 million. In view of its continued strong growth around the world, the company will now invest an additional approximately EUR 50 million over the next 18 months to strengthen its largest plant in Görlitz as the primary production site for its core product line. The aim is for production capacities for cork-latex sandals to be increased by a further 50%. The manufacture of EVA and PU plastic sandals, which was likewise based in Görlitz until now, will henceforth be pooled at a new center of excellence. Up to 1,000 new jobs are to be created at this site alone over the next five years. As the plant in Görlitz is literally bursting at the seams and recruiting new employees is becoming increasingly difficult, a search is currently underway for a suitable location for the new EVA/PU center of excellence. Three sites – all in Germany – have been shortlisted. A definitive decision is expected in the fall.

BIRKENSTOCK further consolidated its position as the biggest employer in the German footwear industry last year, in an environment which was dominated by the pandemic and which was challenging for the industry in general. “We are aware of our responsibility as a stabilizing economic factor in the locations where we have put down roots. With these investments, we will not only strengthen our sites, but will also make more of a mark in the regions around our production facilities,” says BIRKENSTOCK CEO Oliver Reichert. “At the same time, the investments are a clear commitment on the part of our shareholders to Germany.”

Strengthening of Görlitz as the primary production site for the core products – Creation of a new center of excellence for premium EVA and PU plastic sandals

Reichert continues: “Görlitz is and will continue to be our largest and most important plant as well as the beating heart of the production of our core products, the world-famous cork-latex sandals. I firmly believe this works the best if we focus all of our energy there on this product line. The manufacture of EVA and PU plastic sandals is a completely different business with its own systems, processes, and requirements made of the employees. We will therefore be creating a separate center of excellence as a new home for these product lines.”

The search for a new location is already in full swing. In an open-ended process, an internal project group is looking for locations throughout Germany which are suitable for the development of an EVA/PU center of excellence. Constructing a new site currently appears to be the best option. This decision will have next to no impact on the employment situation at the Görlitz site as the production capacities for the core products are to simultaneously be increased by 50%. In its first development stage, the new site will initially be designed for 400 employees. In the medium term, up to 1,000 new jobs are to be created there.

To offer the employees affected positive future prospects, the management of BIRKENSTOCK Productions Sachsen GmbH and the works council have jointly come to a works agreement. The key pillars of this agreement are no redundancies among the employees affected by the changes, offers of continued employment in other areas in Görlitz with at least the same conditions, and qualifications and retraining for other equivalent work to fill vacancies or newly created jobs at the site. The message being sent is clear – the Görlitz site continues to have a great future ahead of it.

BIRKENSTOCK CEO Oliver Reichert: “Our investments and the site agreement are a clear commitment to the BIRKENSTOCK Group’s largest production site. I would like to thank the works council for their constructive advice and for going along with the investment projects with positivity. The investments in the expansion of our capacities will allow us to exploit growth opportunities in the interests of the entire company and the approximately 5,200 employees around the world.”

Mark Jensen to assume the newly created position of Chief Technical Operations Officer

As well as additional production capacities being created, the aim is for value added across the group of production sites to be further optimized. Under the management of Mark Jensen, who assumed the newly created position of Chief Technical Operations Officer within the BIRKENSTOCK Group on August 1, 2021, the interplay of the production sites is to be orchestrated as the production figures continue to increase sharply and production is to be even more closely coordinated with Sales and the markets. The proven footwear production expert will also assist the sites in building up additional capacities, further improving their productivity, and promoting automation. In this way, the Group’s production structures are to be optimized as the foundations for BIRKENSTOCK’s continued dynamic global growth. The creation of this key position likewise serves as a clear commitment to Germany. Based on the importance of this role, Mark Jensen will report directly to BIRKENSTOCK CEO Oliver Reichert.

Mark Jensen built up an impressive career at Ecco involving various stations in the area of production. He started in production management with the long-standing Danish brand in 2006, then spent the subsequent 15 years in a variety of managerial positions, including in Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and, most recently, in Thailand, with responsibility for intercultural teams of up to 6,000 employees.

About BIRKENSTOCK

BIRKENSTOCK is a global lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, rooted in the creation of the BIRKENSTOCK footbed. The brand that can be traced as far as 1774 is guided by the notion of quality and function in all its actions and across all categories. The concept of all-round wellbeing is developed into footwear, sleeping systems and natural cosmetics, increasingly translating the lifestyle vision of the brand heritage.

With around 5,500 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business is also one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1910s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Since 2021, the company is majority owned by L Catterton, the world's largest growth investor focused on the consumer goods industry, and Financière Agache, a holding company controlled by Agache, the holding company of the Arnault family.

Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of closed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products. BIRKENSTOCK has 16 sites in Germany, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Saxony. The long-standing enterprise also operates its own sales offices in the United States and Canada as well as in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Dubai and India.

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