Despite the improved earnings situation, Bavaria’s Finance Minister Füracker expects that the further development of the state-owned companies will be subject to risks, for example with regard to energy prices.
State-owned companies and companies in which the Free State of Bavaria has a stake are on the up again after the setback in the Corona crisis. The effects of the “two very, very difficult years” have not yet been completely overcome, said Finance Minister Albert Füracker (CSU) on Wednesday in the state parliament’s budget committee, but one could be more confident again. Because of the consequences of the Ukraine war, for example on energy prices, the situation will “remain uncertain, let’s not fool ourselves”. In the committee, the minister presented the participation report for 2021 and gave an insight into the development since then. It is about 69 holdings, including the airports and trade fairs in Munich and Nuremberg, the casinos, baths, the Hofbräuhaus Munich and the Weihenstephan state brewery; but also the Bayernheim housing association.
Since Pentecost 2022, the airports have registered “thank God the return of the desire to travel”, says Füracker, but are still not completely “out of crisis mode”. The return to normality can be clearly felt in the trade fair business, and the resumption of operations in 2022 was successful. Exhibitors have returned, and concerns about future digital processing have not materialized. In 2022, the nine state casinos, including those in Bad Füssing, Bad Wiessee, Lindau and Feuchtwangen, achieved the highest gross gaming revenue since 2007. This is the stakes of the guests minus the winnings paid out. Together, the casinos – minus the payments to the state budget – had a surplus of 19 million euros in 2022. In the past, deficits were often disputed. Füracker also acknowledged the tourist importance of the casinos in the communities and the prevention of addiction in the houses; so going to the casino is better than playing “somewhere uncontrolled”.
The Free State has made no progress in getting more women into top positions in shareholdings. The proportion of women on the board or management is 19.5 percent, i.e. 22 out of 113 positions; this is even a small minus. Tim Pargent (Greens) complained in the committee that it was “really expandable in a country comparison”. Füracker said it wasn’t that easy to change structures “overnight,” the downside being the downsizing of a line. He could only say: “We’re really making an effort in all areas, that’s an issue everywhere.” Questions from MPs also concerned the meager balance sheet of Bayernheim, which was founded in 2018 and has not been able to rent a single home-built apartment since then. Or Russian deals from holdings. Of course, the state adheres to things that it demands from others, said Füracker with regard to the sanctions. A striking example: beer is no longer being delivered to Moscow. Helmut Kaltenhauser (FDP) said that often the sense of holdings for public services is not recognizable. Even before the meeting, he had demanded: “All state holdings in the Free State should be put to the test.”