12/05/04

Press Conference

4. Operating Trends in the Initial 3 Months of the 2004 Financial Year
Operating results surpass the previous year's values by 34.9 percent The Würth Group acquires 3 new companies with a combined sales volume of 350 million euro per year

  • Würth's growth has accelerated again: Sales figures rise by 6.4 percent
  • Operating results surpass the previous year's values by 34.9 percent
  • The Würth Group acquires 3 new companies with a combined sales volume of 350 million euro per year

Künzelsau. Würth's growth has accelerated again. In the first 3 months of the 2004 financial year, the Würth Group has managed to increase sales by 6.4 percent on the previous year's values to a high of 1.46 billion euro.

Foreign sales rose by 7.4 percent to 884 million euro. The German Group increased sales by 4.8 percent to 573 million euro. "We are growing at an ever swifter and stronger pace," commented the Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Walter Jaeger with regard to sales in the first quarter of 2004. Using the motto "Go for 6!" Würth wishes to boost sales to 6 billion euro by the end of the year.

The positive operating result of the previous year has remained steady during the beginning of the new financial year. Following the first quarter of 2004 the revenue generated by the Würth Group reached 112 million euro, a growth of 34.9 percent on the previous year's figures. These figures were announced by the company on Wednesday, 12th May 2004 during the presentation of the Group's financial statement for the fiscal year 2003.

Due to the poor economic situation on the domestic market and the uncertainty surrounding economic development on an international level, the Würth Group has prescribed a course of consolidation in the past two years. "We have used the economic stagnation to streamline our structures and processes," emphasized Dr. Walter Jaeger. However, in order to increase speed of growth, the company wishes to resume the worldwide expansion of sales in the year 2004 and to extend the number of newly-recruited sales representatives. At the end of the first quarter of 2004, the Würth Group was employing 43,207 individuals (+ 6.0 percent), of which 24,262 were employed in the sales force (+ 7.2 percent).

At the outset of the 2004 financial year, the Würth Group had yet again made substantial company purchases. Through its takeover of LICHT Zentrale Thurner GmbH in Nuremberg, the Austrian hardware manufacturer Grass and the DIY supplier DIY World GmbH, the Würth Group acquired 3 companies with a total sales volume of 350 million euro per completed financial year in the first quarter of 2004. These purchases will strengthen the trading firms within the electrical wholesale unit, as well as trade with DIY stores and the production of furniture fittings.

LICHT Zentrale Thurner GmbH is a specialist in the area of lighting and lamps (outdoor lights, spotlights, projectors, illumination for the work place and designer lighting). With a work force of 100 employees, they generated sales of approximately 60 million euro in 2003. The electrical wholesaler will doubtlessly strengthen the position of the two Würth subsidiaries FEGA Elektrogroßhandels GmbH in Ansbach and Schmitt Elektrogroßhandel GmbH in Fulda already active in the electrical wholesale business.

The Wuppertal-based DIY World GmbH, supplies tools, electrical machines, hardware and furniture fittings to all renowned European DIY chains. With a workforce of 370 employees it achieved sales of 170 million euro in 2003.

Taking over the fittings producer Grass based in Hoechst/Austria the Würth Group has complemented its group of fittings producers, which is also represented in the market by the Mepla Alfit Group. In the business year 2003/2004, the Grass Group generated a sales volume of 115 million euro with 900 employees.

All three companies purchased will continue to operate as legally independent entities within the Würth Group. The Würth Group comprises 305 companies in 80 countries.