"Würth looks back on a successful business year 2011. We are fine. Würth is a highly growth-oriented business, which has already set its sights on the next success and does not rest on its laurels. We are headed in the right direction, exhaust potentials in a purposeful manner and concentrate on our customers." This is how Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group, describes the business year 2011 at the Press Conference on the Group's Annual Financial Statement on 10 May 2012. "The ongoing volatile economic situation in the world requires us to act responsibly. In 2011, we succeeded in generating a new sales record of EUR 9.7 billion. When taking into consideration that we had grown by 18.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011, which was an extraordinary success, the growth of 7.9 percent in the first three months of this year can be described as satisfactory."
Direct selling has always been the driving force behind the success of the Würth Group. In accordance with the market conditions and the needs of the customer the company develops its sales models along the lines of: "To each customer their own Würth." The company takes this motto into account by fostering sales segmentation and, as a consequence, the development of multi-channel sales. In addition to the classic direct selling approach, Würth banks on e-Commerce and an extended network of branch offices. The network of branch offices aims at covering the customers' immediate needs in terms of tools and consumables the fastest possible way. It should take the customer no more than ten minutes to reach the next Würth branch office. The overall focus is on increasing productivity, as productivity belongs to the major potentials of a business.
Thanks to its geographical extension and divisional structure the Würth Group is largely independent of individual regions and industries if growth is slowing down in certain markets. Over 32,000 sales representatives are the beating heart of the Würth Group. In addition, there are over 1,200 branch offices worldwide, 350 of them in Germany. Würth is where its customers are, be it on Europe's largest airport construction site in Berlin-Brandenburg or at a family-run craft business. In May 2012, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG welcomes its 500,000th customer in Germany.
Germany has been an important pillar of sales and profit in 2011. EUR 4.4 billion were generated in Germany. Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, the biggest individual company of the Würth Group, achieved a sales volume of EUR 1.2 billion, which corresponds to growth of 13.1 percent. At international level, the Group has also grown by double-digit figures - it achieved a sales increase of 11.2 percent and a sales volume of EUR 5.3 billion. Würth operates in more than 80 countries. Especially against the backdrop of partly difficult economic conditions in some of the countries, the figures are satisfactory.
In its core business, the trade in assembly and fastening material for the craft and industry sector, the Würth Group grew by 11.0 percent to a total of EUR 5.4 billion in 2011. The industry sector, recording a plus of 21.0 percent, has to be emphasized. In the group of the Allied Companies, the Würth Elektronik Group, including the company Würth Elektronik eiSos, was a strong growth driver contributing a sales increase of 24.6 percent.
Due to the losses generated in the field of solar production and the one-time effects in connection with its discontinuation the operating result of the Würth Group in 2011 increased by just 2.6 percent compared to the previous year reaching a total of EUR 395 million (2010: EUR 385 million). Another reason for the lower growth rate is that the partly significantly increased purchase prices could not fully be passed on to the customers. With EUR 475 million, the operating result 2011, adjusted by special effects from the solar business, is EUR 90 million higher than last year. The equity ratio amounts to 39.1 percent and the equity capital to a total of EUR 3.0 billion (2010: EUR 2.9 billion). The financial power of the Würth Group is confirmed by the positive credit rating of the rating agencies: In 2011, Standard & Poor‘s again awarded an A rating; Fitch Ratings also renewed its A- rating. When leaving the year 2009 as exceptional year aside, the Würth Group achieved a record value (EUR 554 million) with regard to the cash flow from operative business in 2011. These means were more than enough to finance the investments and to repay interests to the lenders. The liquid funds available on the call date are on the one hand meant for repaying the loans that will become due in the middle of 2012, and on the other hand for financing the further growth of the company.
In 2011, the number of employees increased by 3,680 from 62,433 to 66,113. 2,039 employees were added to the sales force. With 1,446 new employees in Germany - a plus of 8.2 percent - the increase in the number of employees was above the Group average. The employee satisfaction is on a high level, which is evidenced by the fact that, in 2011, Würth turned out to be the best newcomer taking place five in the ranking of the benchmark study "Arbeitsplatzkultur" (workplace cultures) of the Great Place to Work® Institute Germany, a competition in which the company had participated for the first time.
"In 2012, we are going to take the sales hurdle of EUR 10 billion. Apart from this, we reckon with an adequate growth of the operating result and a rate of return on the level of the previous year. However, an all in all slowed down economic growth in the world and economic unsteadiness in Europe are the reasons why the year 2012 will become more volatile than 2011. Despite hesitant growth in the first few months of 2012 we are convinced that we will grow again by double-digit figures in the second half of the year, provided that the general economic conditions will not deteriorate again suddenly." (Friedmann) The Würth Group wants to grow faster than the competition - by the company's own efforts in the established business units and with selective company acquisitions in future markets. With over 400 subsidiaries it is a decentralized managed group consisting predominantly of medium-sized companies, and is therefore in the position to react particularly flexible and quickly. "Which was seen as state of emergency in the past, is rather regarded as normal today - namely fluctuations and uncertainties in any part of the world, in any industry. Our decentralized structures and flexible processes provide a sound basis that makes it possible to react accordingly." (Friedmann) Until the year 2020, the Group wants to generate sales of EUR 20 billion with a total of 100,000 employees.
About the Würth Group
The Würth Group is the world's market leader in its core business, the trade in assembly and fastening materials. It currently consists of more than 400 companies in over 80 countries and has over 66,000 employees on its payroll. Approximately 32,000 employees are permanently employed sales representatives. In the business year 2011, the Würth Group attained a worldwide sales volume of EUR 9.7 billion.
In the core business, the Würth Line, the product range for trades and industry comprises over 100,000 products: from screws, screw accessories and anchors to tools, chemical-technical products and personal protection equipment.
The Allied Companies of the Würth Group, which either operate in business areas adjacent to the core business or in diversified business areas, round off the range by offering products for DIY stores, material for electrical installations, electronic components such as circuit boards as well as financial services. They generate approximately 40 percent of the Würth Group's sales volume.
The Würth Group was awarded the German Logistics Award 2009 by the Federal Association for Logistics (Bundesvereinigung Logistik, BVL). The company received the award for developing modular system logistics, which can be tailored to the needs of individual customer groups.
This goes to show that the company does not only strive to satisfy its customers, but to inspire them with optimism, dynamism and a sense of responsibility. Demanding and promoting performance is firmly embedded in Würth's corporate culture.