World Business: The Bigger They Come

Hamburg's influential daily. Die Welt, had called him "the favorite child of West Germany's economic miracle." Fortnight ago, shortly after he had startled West Germany by admitting that he could not meet July's bills (TIME. Aug. 3), Industrialist Willy Schlieker, 48, was declared bankrupt by a Hamburg court. Up for liquidation was Schlieker's entire domain of 23 shipbuilding, steelmaking and trading companies that grossed $200 million last year.

Undercapitalization and overexpansion were the roots of Schlieker's troubles. He had built his entire empire on a financial base of only $5,000,000, depending on advance payments for the ships he was building to ensure...

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