13/01/09

Preliminary annual financial statement 2008: Würth Group with another sales record

  • Annual sales grew by 3.9 percent to EUR 8.8 billion - adjusted for exchange rates, the growth amounts to 5.1 percent
  • Operating result of EUR 520 million expected
  • 240 new jobs in Germany
  • Changes on the top management level

Künzelsau. According to the preliminary annual financial statement, the Würth Group increased its sales volume 2008 to EUR 8.8 billion. In an economic environment which was difficult especially in the second half of the year, the Group did not meet its ambitious growth targets stipulated at the beginning of the year, yet nevertheless succeeded in generating a sales growth of 3.9 percent over the previous year, amounting to 5.1 percent adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations.

“Attaining a growth rate comparable to the exceptional 2007 was simply impossible in the past year’s economic conditions, which were looking increasingly bleak as the year progressed. Nevertheless, against the backdrop of the severe economic difficulties especially from October, we have reason to be satisfied with the sales growth. It is also important that we again grew profitably in 2008 despite all economic upheavals, thereby attaining a sound operating result,” said Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group.

Until the end of the third quarter of 2008, Würth was able to maintain a high growth speed throughout the Würth Group - up to and including September 2008, the Group's sales growth stood at 6.4 percent (7.8 percent adjusted for currency effects) compared with the same period under review of the previous year. Over the last three months of the year, however, the massive slump of the global economy exerted a lasting impact on the business, thereby also slowing down the annual sales growth considerably.

The development demonstrated by the German Würth Group was encouraging. With a sales plus of 6.5 percent in 2008, the German group made a decisive contribution to the total Group’s success. Up to and including September, almost double-digit sales growth could be attained in Germany.

Outside of Germany, the Würth Group attained a growth rate of 2.1 percent in 2008, which is mostly attributable to the dire economic situation in the United States and the unfavorable dollar exchange rate. Adjusted for currency effects, the sales growth of the international Würth Group amounted to 4.1 percent.

In terms of the operating result, the world’s leading trading company for fasteners and assembly material attained the second-best result of its corporate history after 2007: According to preliminary calculations, it amounts to EUR 520 million (2007: EUR 640 million).

In 2008, the worldwide number of employees of the Würth Group decreased by 1.4 percent compared with the previous year to a total of 62,811. This decline is mostly attributable to the Chinese manufacturing plants of Wurth Electronics Midcom being automated and being optimized by European standards increasingly more. Wurth Electronics Midcom was taken over by the Würth Group in 2007. The workforce at the Midcom production locations in China, for instance, was reduced by 1,449. In Germany, 240 new jobs were created in 2008 within the Würth Group.

The Würth Group will present its audited financial statement for the business year 2008 at its press conference on the financial statement on 6 May 2009 in Künzelsau.

Changes in the top management of the Würth Group and Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG:

With effect from 1 January 2009, the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts and the Advisory Board of the Würth Group have appointed the former Chairman of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, Peter Zürn (49), to the office of Deputy Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group. This change was already announced last year.

Peter Zürn thus succeeds Rolf Bauer (65) who has resigned from his position for age reasons, moving into the Advisory Board of the Würth Group. Norbert Heckmann (41), most recently responsible for the Würth Elektronik eiSos group as a Managing Director, is succeeding Peter Zürn as Chairman of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG.

The Chairwoman of the Advisory Board, Bettina Würth, thanked Rolf Bauer for his long years of commitment to the benefit of the Würth Group. “Rolf Bauer has had a decisive role in driving forward the growth of our Group for 45 years, and defined the company with his outstanding commitment. We are looking forward to him reinforcing the Advisory Board of the Würth Group.”

As of 1 January 2009, the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group consists of

  • Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board
  • Peter Zürn, Deputy Chairman of the Central Managing Board
  • Joachim Kaltmaier
  • Dr. Reiner Specht
  • Prof. Dr. Harald Unkelbach

Peter Zürn started his industrial apprenticeship at Würth in 1979. He was Managing Director of the Würth company in Australia from 1987 to 1990 and was then appointed to the management of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG. His responsibilities included heading the Automotive Division for which he has been responsible also on the international level since 1997 as an Executive Vice President of the Würth Group. Since October 2002, he was Chairman of Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, thus playing a major part in the impressive success story achieved by the Würth Group’s largest individual company.

Norbert Heckmann started his successful career within the Würth Group in 1992 working in Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG’s Product Management department. From 1994 to 1996, he worked in China to build up Würth China in Tianjin. In 1996, he changed over to Würth Elektronik eiSos and was appointed Managing Director for Sales and Marketing in 2002.

The Würth Group is the world’s market leader in its core business, the trade in assembly and fastening material. It currently consists of more than 400 companies in 86 countries and has over 60,000 employees on its payroll. More than 30,000 of them are permanently employed sales representatives in the field.

In the core business, the Würth Line, the sales program for trades and industry comprises over 100,000 products, ranging from screws, screw accessories and anchors via tools to chemical-technical products and personal protective equipment.

280 companies operate under their own name. These so-called Allied Companies are active 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.