Board game maker Haba blames economic turbulence, “incorrect decisions” for slump into insolvency

Haba, the 85-year-old Germany toymaker renowned in board game circles for its family-weight games, has gone into self-administration in an attempt to save the business.

Company spokesperson Ilka Kunzelmann told BoardGameWire that “some decisions made in recent years have been found to be incorrect in hindsight”, adding that disruptions in supply chains had also had a negative impact on the business.

Haba began life as a wooden toy maker in 1938, and has since expanded into board games such as Rhino Hero and Orchard, educational furniture through its Haba Pro brand and children’s clothing via its Jako-o arm.

That expansion has come at a cost amid the volatile market environment post-Covid, with the company seeing sales fall 11% this year to €313m.

Haba is already in the process of making massive job cuts, with up to 650 of its roughly 2,000-strong workforce believed to be under threat.

The company has announced it is discontinuing its Jako-o clothing brand at the start of next year, instead choosing to refocus back to its wooden toy roots.

Kunzelmann said, “We are in the process of correcting these decisions and are making our company future-ready for the coming years. The goal is to rehabilitate the company.”

She also poured cold water on previous reports that the company’s decision to shift to a software system from Germany’s SAP had left online customers upset that the system no longer worked properly.

The self-administration process is only open to companies in economic difficulties that have promising prospects for a sustainable restructuring, providing hope for the survival of the 85-year-old business.

Martin Mucha, a restructuring expert from law firm Grub Brugger, has joined the company to work on the self-administration.

He said, “We will continue business operations as usual and focus all our efforts on the company’s core competencies. The chances are good that we will be able to continue HABA Sales and the HABA Group back on a solid footing.”

Haba has already released 18 new games to the market this year.


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