More than 650 HABA staff to lose jobs in wake of company’s self-administration

Haba, the 85-year-old Germany toymaker famous for its family-weight board games, is planning to shed about 40% of its workforce after entering self-administration.

The company, which currently employs 1,677 people, plans to bring that total down to about 1,000 as part of a “comprehensive restructuring” which will see the business restore its focus on high-quality toys and games that promote child development. 

BoardGameWire reported last month that Haba had gone into self-administration in an attempt to save the business.

Company spokesperson Ilka Kunzelmann told BoardGameWire at the time 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.

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.

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

He said, “In order to position the Haba FamilyGroup for the future and to successfully transform the traditional company towards its 100th anniversary, fundamental cuts that are extremely aching for everyone involved are necessary.

“The central elements of successful restructuring include clear positioning of the brands, viable cost structures and a sustainable positioning of the company internally and externally.”

The proposed restructuring plans were presented to Haba’s works council – a group of employee representatives at the business – on October 4, and will require their approval by the end of next month.

Haba is currently exhibiting about 50 games at this year’s Essen Spiel game fair, including new offering Captain Pepe, Treasure Ahoy!, billed as a family-weight co-operative legacy game.

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