In the period from January to August 2010 the STIHL Group achieved a turnover of EUR 1.64 billion, which represents growth of 16.9 percent over the same period last year. Currency exchange rates accounted for 5.5 percent of this growth – mainly due to the strength of the Brazilian, Australian and Canadian currencies against the euro. "With our strong growth we may well exceed our record turnover of 2008 and thus overcome the aftermath of the global economic crisis," said STIHL Executive Board Chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora at the autumn press conference. The company gained market shares in many product groups all over the world. "We will be launching the first STIHL cordless chain saw in autumn as a further addition to our cordless product line on the German market. This saw will satisfy the needs of professional and demanding private users," said a confident Dr. Kandziora.
International market position expanded
STIHL recorded double-digit growth in its worldwide unit sales this year which was above average in the industry. Thereby, the STIHL Group further expanded its position on international markets during the global economic crisis. Employment levels were upped in line with the increase in production. As of August 31, 2010 the company's worldwide workforce increased to 11,111, which is 0.4 percent higher than the previous year. It is planned to hire more staff by the end of the year in the event of a continuing rise in production output.
Stable turnover on German market
Turnover growth on the German market has been stable this year after a 4% rise in crisis year 2009. Following the extreme winter STIHL was able to make up ground and raise turnover as of the end of August to the same level as last year. Sales of VIKING mowers and lawn tractors have also grown strongly. The premium strategy meets customers' expectations in terms of quality, ergonomics and design. Dr. Kandziora is optimistic: "We expect to see further turnover growth from the introduction of new products as well as major advertising and sales promotion activities. The entire garden sector is profiting from the feel-good trend that prevails among garden owners. The living room is being extended into the garden, so to speak. In this area customers particularly appreciate the quality products made by STIHL and VIKING."
STIHL's sales subsidiary in Dieburg, Hesse, officially opened its new logistics center for the German market in May 2010. Costing a total of more than EUR 25 million, the new building is the biggest investment in the history of the sales subsidiary. The new building and modernization were necessary because unit sales had risen to such an extent that they could no longer be handled with the existing capacities. Dr. Kandziora explained the significance of the investment: "In building the new logistics center we have created important prerequisites for the competitiveness of STIHL and VIKING products and further enhanced our strength – i.e. fast and complete deliveries to specialist dealers."
Substantial jump in turnover at German founding company
The German founding company, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, manufactures mainly cut-off machines and a large proportion of professional chain saws, professional brushcutters and clearing saws for the world market. The founding company therefore benefits greatly from the economic recovery in the construction and forestry industries. In the period from January to August 2010 the founding company's turnover was up 15 percent to EUR 505 million. Unit sales and production output also grew strongly. Employment levels were up, negative working time accounts were reduced and the workforce increased by 1.8 percent over the previous year to 3,788 as of August 31, 2010. Of this total 2,836 are employed in Waiblingen, 307 in Ludwigsburg, 592 in Prüm Weinsheim and 53 in Wiechs am Randen. The company has already hired more than 100 additional workers on limited contracts of employment in the current year.
Excellent training system guarantees level of skilled workers at founding company
In view of STIHL's excellent training system Dr. Kandziora does not expect "any serious problems recruiting skilled workers in the coming years. We pursue a longterm strategy on the labor market and have, for example, significantly increased the number of working students in the company in addition to our in-house apprenticeships." In the last few years the company has been able to fill almost 40 percent of engineering vacancies from the pool of students. "The chance to quickly take on responsibility and our above-average voluntary social benefits – such as merit bonus, company pension and employee participation scheme – make STIHL exceptionally attractive for applicants," explained Dr. Kandziora.
All interested and suitable apprentices and trainees who had completed their training in 2010 were offered a permanent contract of employment, or at least a limited-term contract of employment in individual cases. "As a family-owned company we take our social responsibility seriously and traditionally train young people over and above our own requirements," said the executive board chairman. From now until October 60 young people will be starting their training at the STIHL founding company, where a total of 210 apprentices and trainees are working. This means that apprentices and trainees account for 5.7 percent of the workforce, which is above the industry's average.
STIHL presents battery power in modular system
STIHL is significantly expanding its line of products in the cordless segment for the 2010/2011 season. Having successfully launched the HSA 65 and HSA 85 cordless hedge trimmers in 2009, the company will be presenting the MSA 160 C-BQ chain saw, the FSA 65 and FSA 85 line trimmers as well as the BGA 85 leaf blower in autumn. Being powerful, versatile and quiet, they are particularly suitable for applications in noise-sensitive areas and meet the requirements of professionals and demanding private users. The AP 80 and AP 160 battery packs can be used in all the machines. They can also be plugged into a newly developed battery belt to lighten the load on the user's arms during operation. VIKING complements the STIHL lineup of new cordless products with the new VIKING MA 339 and MA 339 C cordless lawn mowers.
STIHL will be launching four new gasoline chain saws on the market: The STIHL MS 231 and MS 251 have been designed primarily for cutting firewood and landscape maintenance, the STIHL MS 271 and MS 291 are all-rounders for agriculture, horticulture, landscaping, the construction industry and trades. Further new developments are the STIHL FS 360, FS 410 and FS 460 clearing saws – a new product generation for professionals. They come standard with the STIHL ErgoStart system, while the FS 460 features the fully electronic M-Tronic engine management system. Additions to the range of pressure washers are the STIHL RE 143, RE 143 PLUS and RE 163 PLUS. They have been designed for use in workshops, garages and around the house and yard.
Apart from the new cordless lawn mowers, VIKING will launching its new ME 339 and ME 339 C corded electric mowers and new HB 445, HB 445 R and HB 585 cultivators for the 2010/2011 season.
STIHL executive board chairman optimistic about 2010
Executive Board Chairman Dr. Kandziora is optimistic about fiscal year 2010: "In all probabilty we will considerably exceed our self-imposed growth target of 5 percent for this year. My expectations are high regarding the market launch of our new products." The world economy has recovered faster than expected. However, in view of the lack of confidence which afflicted the eurozone financial markets in spring this year, Dr. Kandziora still sees a continuing threat to a sustained up-swing. He also mentioned the problem of sluggish economies in some industrialized countries. "All in all, however, our company is clearly headed for growth."
(Voucher copy requested.)
Picture 1: STIHL press conference September, 2010 in Waiblingen: (from right to left) Günther Gaßlbauer, Member of the Executive Board Human Resources, IT and Law, Dr. Ber-tram Kandziora Chairman of the Executive Board, Production and Materials, Jürgen Steinhauser, Member of the Executive Board Marketing and Sales, Wolfgang Zahn, Member of the Executive Board Development and Dr. Klaus Detlefsen, Member of the Executive Board Finance and Controlling.
Picture 2: Chairman of the Executive board Dr. Bertram Kandziora at the press conference Sep-tember, 2010 in Waiblingen.
Photograph: STIHL (Reprint free of charge/voucher copy requested)