17/08/09

Würth Group: Business development in the 1st half of 2009

  • Sales decrease by 17.5 percent over the first half of 2008
  • Nevertheless, positive operating result of EUR 102 million before tax
  • 58,593 employees worldwide (as of 30 June 2009)
  • Bond successfully issued

Künzelsau/Rorschach. The worldwide operating Würth Group, world market leader in its core business, the trade in assembly and fastening material, reported overall sales of EUR 3.76 billion in the first half of 2009, which corresponds to a sales decline of 17.5 percent compared to the same period under review of last year.

“Our sales development is still heavily affected by the difficult situation of our customers, especially in mechanical engineering, the automobile sector and industry-related areas in general”, explains Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group. However, the past weeks seem to indicate a certain bottom formation. This is not meant as an "all-clear", but the daily sales volumes are quite stable again in many areas of the Group - and although on a relatively low level, they no longer decrease further. In addition, the number of orders per day is increasing again”, says Friedmann.

Compared to the first half of 2008, the sales of the German Würth companies decreased by 14.7 percent, and abroad they dropped by 19.5 percent. Customers and thus the Würth subsidiaries in the U.S., UK and Spain have been hit particularly hard by the economically difficult situation. At present, the Würth Group is represented with over 400 companies in 84 countries of the world.

Depending on the development of the global economy, the Würth Group is expecting a sales decline of between 15 and 20 percent in 2009. “We do our utmost to keep the consequences of the crisis to a minimum. The most important thing is to win market shares also in the current situation. We therefore invest all our strength in sales”, states Friedmann.

Group reports solid liquidity

Besides the expansion of the worldwide customer base safeguarding liquidity and profit is still of top priority for the Group. Despite the sales decline, the Würth Group was able to generate a positive operating result of EUR 102 million in the first half of 2009 (first half of 2008: EUR 316 million).

In June, the Würth Group successfully issued a CHF 225 million bond in the Swiss capital market through its financial subsidiary Würth Finance International B.V. The transaction further strengthens the solid funding structure of the Würth Group. The Group thus has more than EUR 500 million in liquid funds. As of 30 June, the equity ratio of the Würth Group amounts to 41.0 percent.

“We are pushing sales, and at the same time the measures taken to reduce costs and safeguard liquidity begin to take effect. Würth is among the companies that manage to be successful and profitable despite the crisis”, says Friedmann.

Employees

In the first half of 2009, the number of Würth employees decreased by 6.7 percent to 58,593 compared to the end of 2008. 28,913 of these employees work in the sales force. The Würth companies outside Germany have 42,152 employees on their payroll; the German companies report 16,441 employees.

On the Würth Group

The Würth Group is the world’s market leader in its core business, the worldwide trade in assembly and fastening material. It currently consists of more than 400 companies in 84 countries and has over 59,000 employees on its payroll. Approximately 29,000 of them are permanently employed sales representatives. In 2008, the Würth Group attained a sales volume of EUR 8.82 billion.

In the core business, the Würth Line, the sales range for trades and industry comprises over 100,000 products: From screws, screw accessories and anchors via tools to chemical technical products and personal protection equipment.

The so-called Allied Companies operate under their own name in diversified business fields and markets adjacent to the core business. They sell for instance products for DIY stores, material for electrical installations, electronic components (e.g. circuit boards), financial services and solar modules. They generate approximately 42 percent of the Würth Group’s sales volume.