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Rhino Hero publisher Haba lays off more than 650 workers in “extremely aching" self-administration process

Haba Family Group filed for insolvency last month and will reportedly refocus on toys and board games.

Rhino Hero: Super Battle board game artwork
Image credit: Haba Family Group

Toy and family board game publisher Haba Family Group will reduce its workforce by more that 650 people as part of a large-scale self-administration process meant to save the flailing German company from insolvency.

Haba announced the massive layoffs in a press release on October 4th, which followed the news last month that the longtime publisher of family-sized tabletop titles such as Rhino Hero and Karuba had filed for insolvency with the Coburg district court. Insolvency differs from a bankruptcy declaration in that the company retains control of how it pays outstanding debts.

One of the first methods appears to be shrinking its workforce by about 40% in a huge round of layoffs presented as a “restructuring concept”. A plan titled the Future Pact 2030 will reportedly situate Haba to focus more on “local value creation”, and the family-owned company has hired the Grub Brugger law firm to guide the ongoing restructuring efforts.

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“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,” said Grub Brugger representative Martin Mucha. “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. We are convinced that the Haba Family Group can be made future oriented and competitive in the medium term.”

The discontinuation of Habo’s Jako-o brand necessitated some of the announced layoffs. Habo specifically name-dropped the line of clothing and toys for children younger than 12 months when discussing its plans to refocus on core competencies. Haba will still produce family board games and toys as one of its strongest financial pillars, but shedding underperforming brands and a “leaner management organisation” reportedly ensures the company’s best chances at survival.

Haba Family Group must present its plan to the Haba management and the general works council - a collection of employee representatives that functions similarly to trade unions - for approval by the end of the month. Losing such a significant portion of its employees did not stop the toy company from showcasing dozens of games at the 2023 Essen Spiel trade fair and convention. Read Dicebreaker’s coverage of the largest board game event of the year here.

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