15/07/20

Moderate drop in sales: Würth Group satisfied with performance during coronavirus pandemic

The global market leader for fastening and assembly technology can look back on a reasonable first half of the year despite the coronavirus crisis: Sales dropped slightly by 3.1 percent to EUR 6.9 billion, the e-business share increased to 20 percent.

Künzelsau. The Würth Group reported sales of EUR 6.9 billion in the first half of 2020, down 3.1 percent over the same period last year. Adjusted for currencies, sales dropped by 2.9 percent. Sales declined both in Germany (-0.5 percent) and, to a greater extent, abroad (-4.9 percent). “Considering the current backdrop of a global pandemic, we are more than satisfied with this relatively stable development,” said a relieved Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group. “Due to the skilled trades being regarded as essential businesses and our successful establishment of a digital infrastructure in ordering and supply processes in previous years, we were always able to deliver and did not suffer any supply bottlenecks.”

In Germany, the Würth Group generated sales of EUR 2.9 billion, which corresponds to negative growth of 0.5 percent. “We profited from the fact that the construction industry still posted growing sales in the first months of 2020,” Friedmann explained. “As an automotive supplier, on the other hand, we do feel the effects from the still suffering automotive industry.” Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, the original parent company and at the same time the largest company of the Würth Group, generated sales of EUR 1,061 million including intragroup sales in the first half of 2020 (+2.5 percent).

E-business acts as stabilizer during the crisis

Especially Würth Group companies in countries heavily affected by the COVID-19 disease such as Italy, France and Spain felt the effects of the crisis. However, despite the overall economic standstill in many countries, e.g. in France, which imposed a full lockdown in April and many restrictions in May, companies were still able to celebrate great successes through their e-business channels. The strategic structural shift towards digital channels such as online shops, the Würth App and e-procurement has resulted in Würth France posting e-business growth of 27.8 percent in the first half of the year. Contactless procurement solutions proved to be an ideal solution. The Group’s performance and efficiency is still driven by three factors: its multi-channel strategy, its diversification of risk through its international footprint and diverse business models. As a result, the Group was always able to remain a flexible partner for its customers in the skilled trades and the industry throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Strong growth in Construction Division

In the first half of 2020, global sales in the Construction Division grew by 9.2 percent over the same period last year, driven by the continuing strong demand in the construction sector. The Group’s Construction Site Project Management was a particularly strong driver of growth.

Electrical wholesaling unaffected by crisis

The companies in the Electrical Wholesale business unit reported strong growth of 13.7 percent. Positive factors influencing the unit’s sales development included stable supply capacities and an acquisition in Spain, which had been completed in 2019.

Operating result

At EUR 280 million at the end of the first half of 2020, the operating result of the Würth Group is significantly down on the previous year (2019: EUR 340 million). “This is a setback we have to deal with. Still, considering the circumstances, we are quite satisfied with these results. Now, we are pursuing all our options in terms of sales activities and cost management to make sure we are able to turn this crisis into an opportunity,” Friedmann concluded.

Employees

The number of employees was reduced by 603, from 78,686 at the end of 2019 to 78,083 in the first half of 2020. The German Group companies employ a total of 24,318 people, which is roughly on the same level as at the end of 2019. The Group currently has 33,467 sales force employees on the payroll.

Carmen Würth Forum completed in Künzelsau

The annex to the culture and convention center Carmen Würth Forum in Künzelsau, Baden-Württemberg, which had also been designed by David Chipperfield Architects, has been completed. With a total floor space of 5,500 square meters, the new wing adds a multi-purpose conference area and an art museum—Museum Würth 2—along with café and foyer to the chamber music hall and the Great Hall. The museum showcases principal works of modern and contemporary art of the Würth Collection. Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG spent roughly EUR 39 million on the annex.

Würth Group celebrates 75th anniversary

The year 2020 marks two anniversaries that are celebrated in the Würth Group: the 85th birthday of Reinhold Würth and the 75th anniversary of the company. The screw hardware store Adolf Würth was entered into the commercial register in Künzelsau on 16 July 1945. This date marks the beginning of a global enterprise.