Why did Zalando apply for subsidies as an SME?
Zalando has been retrospectively classified as an SME in accordance with the current recommendation of the European Commission on the definition of SMEs, on the basis of information from December 31 of the previous year and the year previous to that in relation to the year in which the funding was granted. Therefore, company data from 2009 and 2008 was used as a basis for the funding applied for in 2010. This data fulfilled the SME criteria (number of employees < 250, total assets < 43 million euro, turnover < 50 million euro) fully.
SME status will be lost with future effect from the point at which these criteria are exceeded between two consecutive balance sheet dates. This first occurred on January 1, 2012. The SME funding conditions therefore still applied for the award of funding up to December 31, 2011. This applies for funding and the related legal grounds throughout Germany and the rest of Europe.
Do the permanent jobs created using the subsidies have to be positions lasting an indefinite period?
The receipt of the GRW funding for the Berlin site is associated with an obligation to create a specific number of permanent jobs and to maintain these for five years after the end of the project. During this period, these jobs must be occupied without (culpable) interruption. Excusable short-term interruptions, such as layoffs and replacements or the unavailability of suitable candidates etc. are permitted if supporting evidence is available.
Continuous occupation by the same persons is not required. Instead, the jobs may be filled by different persons, provided that the position is always refilled. This also corresponded with – and continues to correspond with – funding and the related legal ground throughout Germany. Zalando has also fulfilled these conditions in Berlin: Of the employees employed within the scope of the funding application, over 70 percent are still employed by Zalando. Of these, almost 90 percent are permanently employed. All other jobs have been refilled.
What is the total amount of funding granted to Zalando?
For the development of the corporate headquarters and the headquarters of the zLabels subsidiary in Berlin, Zalando has applied for and received a total of 11.2 million euro from the state of Berlin. Over the course of the development of our own logistics division, we have been granted 2.5 million euro of funding for the center in Brieselang. For the first construction phase of the center in Erfurt, we have also been granted funding of 22.4 million euro, with a planned investment amount of 100 million euro.
For the second construction phase in Erfurt as well as for previous work on the site in Mönchengladbach, no subsidies have been applied for. The awarding of the funds is linked to the creation of 900 permanent jobs in Berlin as well as 500 jobs in Erfurt and 100 jobs in Brieselang. Zalando has completely fulfilled – and continues to fulfil – these conditions. Zalando now employs more than 5,000 employees in Berlin, about 2,800 in Erfurt and about 1,200 in Brieselang.
Has Zalando applied for any further funding?
Zalando also plans to investigate and apply for funding to expand the company or to develop new technologies if necessary. Due the previous positive experiences of all parties involved, our pursuit of funding can only be an advantage for society, employees and the company. For example, Zalando subsidiary zLabels has received approval for the funding of 80 permanent jobs that has not yet been requested, but which can be applied for by spring 2016.