Will the energy crisis crush European industry?

While companies are digging in for a long winter, executives and politicians fear a wave of deindustrialisation.

A Volkswagen assembly line in Hanover, Germany. Gas is the single most important source of energy for Europe’s industrial companies. PHOTO: AFP
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As European businesses brace themselves for energy shortages, workers at one plant in south-eastern France are getting a new winter wardrobe.

Saint-Gobain, the French building materials group, has ordered extra-warm coats and gloves for staff at its warehouse in the Alpine town of Chambery, who have agreed to turn down the heat this winter. In order to cut gas consumption, temperatures will be closer to 8 deg C, instead of the usual 15 deg C.

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