"Last year the STIHL Group's turnover surpassed the 3 billion euro mark for the first time and by a considerable margin", said STIHL executive board chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora at the company's financial press conference. Worldwide turnover in 2015 was up by 8.9 percent to EUR 3.25 billion. Without the effects of foreign exchange rates the increase would have been 3.7 percent. "In 2015 our sales subsidiaries in most countries again succeeded in gaining market shares and this enabled us to further consolidate our global competitive position", said Dr. Kandziora. "Worldwide investments in 2015 totalled EUR 235 million, which is higher than they have even been in the company's history. We are celebrating our company's 90th anniversary this year and are well prepared for further growth." All investments are equity-financed as a matter of principle. The equity ratio is 69.7 percent.
North America is growth engine
The situation in international markets was quite varied for STIHL in 2015. "North America was once again the growth engine with a double digit increase in unit sales. In the U.S., there were gains in market share in almost all product groups. STIHL also made significant progress in Latin America", explained Dr. Kandziora. Western Europe, including the southern European countries, also reported growth. By contrast, the chain saw market in Russia collapsed. The slump in the ruble's value, the teetering economy and the falling price of oil resulted in purchasing power being practically halved, so that the total sales of products in Russia dropped drastically. Overall, market shares were gained worlwide. An encouraging level of unit sales growth was achieved with VIKING products.
Gains in market shares on German market
STIHL also achieved significant growth on the German market last year. "Business with cordless electric products and the VIKING iMow robot mower was particularly good in the first quarter of 2016", said a pleased Dr. Kandziora. The STIHL and VIKING Test Day, which took place for sixth time on April 9, 2016, is the traditional start to the season for dealers. The STIHL COMPACT cordless system further extends the line of cordless power tools. The new products will be available as from this summer. Further test opportunities for customers are scheduled as part of the "Super Saw Weeks" in autumn.
Worldwide investments at all-time high
The STIHL Group's investments last year amounted to EUR 235 million – the highest they have ever been in the company's history. Of that total, the German founding company accounted for 37 percent and the subsidiaries at home and abroad for 63 percent. For example, ZAMA, a subsidiary of the STIHL Group, opened a new production facility in the Philippines in January 2016 which represented an investment of over EUR 40 million. Compared with investments, total depreciations amounted to EUR 149 million. The number of employees in the Group was down by 0.4 percent to a total of 14,245.
Heavy investments in German founding company
Turnover at the German founding company, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, fell slightly by 0.6 percent to EUR 989 million. Growth in turnover in the U.S.A. in particular and several countries in Central and South America almost made up for the sharp decline in the Russian market. At the founding company in Waiblingen, the extension to the engineering center and the new production logistics building – an investment of some EUR 90 million – were inaugurated in March 2016. In a video message the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel praised "how STIHL recognizses the opportunities that go hand in hand with digitization and networking". The investments in 2015 were much higher than depreciations. The number of employees was down one percent to 4,180. The merit bonus for employees was 50 percent of one month's salary or at least EUR 1,350. Employees who hold participating rights in the company's capital will again receive the maximum rate of ten percent on their holdings.
Competence center for electronics and cordless products expanded
A key focus of STIHL research and development in 2015 was battery technology. The capacity for the development of electronic systems and cordless products has been greatly expanded by the new extension in Waiblingen. "STIHL is a trendsetter for the performance and ergonomics of premium cordless electric power tools", underscored Dr. Kandziora and declared: "Our unit sales in the cordless segment increased considerably last year. With our own optimized brushless electric motor, a special cutting attachment for cordless chainsaws as well as particularly lightweight and rugged battery packs with a high energy density, we convert technology leadership into customer benefits." The battery-operated STIHL BGA 100 blower, for example, is the most powerful hand-held leaf blower on the market with a sound power level of 90 dB(A). Designed for professional users, the blower also has a low weight and a high blowing performance. Similarly, the STIHL MSA 200 cordless chainsaw sets the benchmark in performance and cutting quality. One of the reasons for this is the specially developed saw chain.
2016: 90th company anniversary and the power to keep growing
"This year we are proud to look back on the company's successful 90-year history. Our thanks go primarily to our committed staff", said Dr. Kandziora. "We have got off to a good start in 2016 and expect to continue our growth course – also viewed over the medium and long term. In this process we will focus systematically on the needs of our customers, who can rely on STIHL's proven premium quality in the future, too."
Attractive new products from STIHL and VIKING in 2016
The weight of the STIHL MS 261 C-M gasoline chainsaw was reduced by 300 grams in a comprehensive model update program – "the result is a dream weight", said Dr. Kandziora. Engine power was increased 0.1 kW at the same time. This resulted in a power to weight ratio (1.6 kg/kW) which puts the professional saw at the top of its displacement class. In addition, numerous components were optimized ergonomically. Ignition timing and fuel feed are precisely controlled by the STIHL M-Tronic electronic engine management system.
The STIHL COMPACT cordless system for home and garden owners is to be introduced shortly. The four power tools in the new cordless product line will be launched on the market in stages: the STIHL BGA 56 blower in May, the STIHL FSA 56 grass trimmer in June, the STIHL MSA 120 C-BQ chain saw in July and the STIHL HSA 56 hedge trimmer in August. The quiet, lightweight and easy-to-use power tools come with rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The batteries and charger are compatible with all power tools in the COMPACT cordless system. "And the prices of the new cordless power tools are very attractive for private users", noted Dr. Bertram Kandziora. The recommended sales price for the complete set – power tool with battery and charger – varies between EUR 249 and EUR 299. Without the battery and charger, the price is about EUR 149 for the BGA 56 blower and EUR 229 for the MSA 120 C-BQ chain saw.
VIKING's new MI 422 and MI 422 P iMow robotic mowers have been on the market since January. They are suitable for lawns up to 1,000 square meters and complement the Series 6 robotic mowers for gardens up to 4,000 square meters. A smartphone app can be used to connect to the C-Models of Series 6. The new version of the VIKING MB 248 gasoline mower is quieter than the previous model and offers 30 percent more power and reduced vibrations. It is suitable for lawn areas of up to 1,200 square meters.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championships back in Stuttgart in 2016
The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championships are returning to Stuttgart: The world's best athletes will compete for honors in individual and team contests in the state capital on November 11 and 12. Back in autumn 2013, the season's final, one of the leading events in lumberjack sports, was also held in Stuttgart and delighted more than 10,000 spectators on two evenings in the packed Porsche Arena. Executive board chairman Dr. Kandziora urged: "Anyone wanting to see the competition live in November should book soon: Almost half the tickets for the event have been sold already."