Workers at injection press maker Engel Holding GmbH in Schwertberg are back on full work schedules, after eight months of short-time schedules.
The return to normal came earlier than planned the company had planned to end short-time schedules in March.
Some 95 percent of the staff had been on short-time. Engel credited a better order position as a reason for the switch.
Engel announced the change in late November, and the news has since been picked up by the Austrian news media.
The company, one of the world's largest press makers, has adopted various measures in recent months to stimulate demand, including leasing offers, supplier credit, and a premium offered to customers that scrapped old machines for new, more efficient presses.
At the recent Fakuma trade show in Germany, Engel CEO Peter Neumann said the company was extending the scrap premium to the end of 2009.
Despite the introduction of short-time schedules in April, the company still dropped 200 employees shortly afterward. Staffing is now at 1,900, down from 2,200 before the company implemented the cost-saving measures.
Engel noted that business has been on an upward trend since June. At Fakuma, Neumann said the company was poised to see improved results.
Even if it is still necessary to wait for the classic upswing after this crisis, and stabilization will only take place slowly, the investment climate is becoming noticeably more positive, he said.
Engel claims that during the downturn it was able to secure a larger chunk of the market: taking its share in Europe to almost 30 percent, in North America to 15 percent, and in Asia to almost 10 percent.
Engel is the second European injection press maker to announce a return to full-time work schedules. In October, NÃ¤fels, Switzerland-based Netstal AG announced that it would return to full-time work schedules Nov. 1, citing a significant improvement in orders.
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