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Press release Successor wanted!

IfM Bonn estimates that around 38,000 transfers are due to take place each year until 2026

According to estimates by the IfM Bonn, around 190,000 companies will handover their business in the next five years because the owners are retiring from management due to age, illness or death. Almost half of the takeovers will occur in the business-related services sector and more than a quarter in the manufacturing industry. However, companies that offer personal services (e.g. hospitality, health/social services, arts, entertainment, recreation, education and training) and trade are likely to be taken over much less frequently.

The highest number of transfers in relation to the number of companies is expected in Bremen and Lower Saxony: 59 and 56 transfers per 1,000 companies. In the case of Bremen, this is due to a comparatively high number of companies in the business-related services sector - an economic sector that is of great importance for succession in general. In Lower Saxony, however, there are many companies in the medium revenue size category, in which many transfers also take place.

In relation to the numbers of companies, Berlin is expected to have the lowest number of successions at 44 per 1,000. There are also a disproportionately large number of companies in the business-related services sector. However, most of them belong to minor revenue size categories, in which a takeover is often not worthwhile.

Various influences of the Covid19 pandemic

"The Corona pandemic is likely to affect successions primarily in the case of non-family transfers. However, these account for less than 30% of all succession arrangements," reports study director Dr Nadine Schlömer-Laufen. In these cases, former owners who are currently aiming for a sale may have to accept lower purchase prices. Others, however, will postpone their succession plans until the economic situation has improved. In addition, younger entrepreneurs may be forced to hasten their succession plans due to a Corona infection and its long-term consequences.

All in all, IfM Bonn researchers expect economically successful companies to find a succession solution despite demographic change and a shortage of skilled workers.

Since there are no official statistics that provide reliable information on successions, IfM Bonn has been calculating the number of business successions since the mid-1990s using an estimation method specially developed for this purpose. A comparison with the number of transfers that actually took place according to business registration statistics has shown that IfM Bonn's estimation procedure is a good representation of the actual number of business successions.