- Entry into EC motor manufacturing - commitment to founding company in Germany
- Further growth in battery segment
- Variety of new battery-operated products for professional and home users
The past eight months have proven challenging for the STIHL Group. The company generated revenue of 3.84 billion euros in the period from January to August 2023, a decline of 1.5 percent year on year. Excluding exchange rate effects, revenue would have increased by 0.9 percent. The workforce decreased by 0.5 percent to 20,311 employees worldwide as of August 31, 2023. There are a number of reasons for the deterioration in business performance. Since the lifting of measures to contain the coronavirus, consumers have resumed spending more on tourism, cultural activities, and eating out. Weaker economic development, inflation, and the cost of energy have also led to subdued consumer spending in general. Alongside this restraint among consumers around the world, authorized dealers' high stock levels have also had an impact on sales performance at STIHL.
Speaking at the press conference held during International STIHL Media Day on September 13, Michael Traub, Chairman of the STIHL Executive Board, said: "After several years of strong growth, our markets find themselves in a period of temporary consolidation in 2023. But with over 100 years of history in the industry, STIHL has plenty of experience in responding to fluctuations in operating business. Our family-owned company has a long-term outlook, and we look to the future with confidence. We have ambitious growth plans and continue to invest a great deal in our business, especially in batteries - the technology of the future - and in our global manufacturing and sales net-work." Those plans include further expansion of the founding company in Germany, Traub added. Alongside a new manufacturing facility for battery-operated tools, the company also plans to build its own EC motor plant for professional battery-operated products in Waiblingen, increasing STIHL's depth of production for battery-operated tools even further.
Growth in the battery segment despite challenging market conditions
"What's positive is that our battery strategy is paying off and that our customers around the world remain very interested in battery-operated STIHL products," said Traub. "Sales of battery-operated chainsaws and other battery-operated power tools have increased year on year, and we have also achieved growth with our iMOW robotic mower. Some regional markets are also developing positively. Nevertheless, we are still seeing an overall decline in sales worldwide across all drive types."
Global markets at a glance:
- Sales volumes in Western Europe are down year on year. Demand in the domestic market of Germany was impacted by a delayed start to the summer season, with a wet and cold spring and subsequent dry weather. Sales declined accordingly, with revenue remaining on a par with the previous year. Demand also fell in Eastern Europe.
- Sales in North America decreased - a trend that also affected STIHL's largest market: the U.S. Latin America, on the other hand, is performing on a par with the previous year. Brazil, STIHL's largest South American market, recorded a slight increase in sales.
- Africa is continuing on its growth trajectory, recording a rise in sales. Especially South Africa is developing positively.
- Asia reported a year-on-year decrease in sales. However, the Indian market saw its sales rise slightly compared to the previous year.
- In Oceania, sales were below the previous-year figure overall, with New Zealand generating sales growth.
STIHL remains optimistic and expects further growth in the medium to long term
"As an independent, family-owned company with a high equity ratio of over 60 percent, we can continue to operate and plan with a long-term outlook, despite the challenging market development in the short term," said Traub. "That's why we anticipate further growth, particularly in the battery segment, and are investing significantly in the global STIHL Group." The investments include the following:
- Expanding and renewing the STIHL product range for private consumers and in the professional segment.
- Developing high-performance charging solutions for battery-operated products, particularly in the professional segment, to make it easier for people to operate their battery-operated tools without interruption throughout the day and work in and with nature.
- Expanding global sales channels with the addition of e-commerce solutions and growing the global network of specialist dealers.
- Developing special products for emerging markets to make even better use of market potential there.
In-house EC motor manufacturing: increasing depth of production and affirming commitment to the founding company in Germany
From mechanical parts such as slides, chains, sprocket covers, and housing to electronics like battery packs or cable harnesses, STIHL already develops and manufactures many of the parts used in its battery products itself. Now the company plans to begin manufacturing its own EC motors too. Producing the components in-house will ensure that the electric motors, which are already developed by STIHL, are an even better match for the products as a whole - something that will further enhance the performance and quality of the company's battery-operated tools. The facility will be established at the founding company in Waiblingen, Germany, and initially focus on producing EC motors for professional battery-operated products. It is set to start in 2025. The total investment amounts to roughly 17 million euros.
"We are now manufacturing the beating heart of any battery-operated tool: the EC motor," said Traub. "This marks a major strategic step in our transformation and allows us to increase the depth of our added value in the expanding battery market, strengthen our supply chain resilience, and broaden our expertise. Last, but by no means least, the decision to set up the new facility in Waiblingen represents a strong commitment to our founding company in Germany and will enable us to safeguard jobs there in the long term." STIHL's operations in Waiblingen are currently focused on manufacturing gasoline-powered professional tools and battery packs, as well as components such as guide bars and plastic parts. STIHL will also begin manufacturing professional battery-operated tools at the site in 2024.
The German founding company, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, generated revenue of 1.11 billion euros between January and August 2023, representing a decrease of 7.1 percent compared to the previous year. The workforce increased by 2.6 percent to 6,004 employees, 4,266 of whom work in Waiblingen, 460 in Fellbach, 259 in Ludwigsburg, 921 in Weinsheim, and 98 in Wiechs am Randen.
Numerous product innovations for professional users and consumers
At International Media Day, STIHL presented a variety of innovations and new products designed to help customers work more easily with and in nature, with a particular focus on the significant expansion of the battery-operated portfolio:
Products soon to be launched for professional users include the following:
- The STIHL FSA 200 is the company's most powerful battery-operated brushcutter. Utilizing the STIHL AP battery power system, the innovative new product is perfect for mowing long grass and scrub easily and effectively in garden and landscape maintenance as well as in the public sector. The STIHL FSA 200 features an ergonomically designed bike handle and an anti-vibration system that reduces handle shuddering.
- The STIHL HTA 150 battery-operated pole pruner is the first such tool designed specifically with forestry in mind. It features a particularly lightweight, hollow shaft and a powerful EC motor for precision cuts. Guiding this high-performance saw precisely and thinning out young stands or controlling mixed growth in the forest efficiently is simple in combination with the STIHL ADVANCE X-TREEm HT forestry harness.
- The STIHL HTA 160 is the most powerful battery-operated pole pruner in STIHL's product range. It is designed to enable professional tree maintenance specialists to remove even high-up branches and deadwood safely and conveniently from ground level.
- The new STIHL KMA 120 R battery-operated KombiEngine can be fitted to a whole host of STIHL's quality KombiTools using the practical quick-release coupling, opening up any number of potential uses.
- For cutting work on construction sites, STIHL has the brand-new TS 710i and TS 910i gasoline-powered cut-off machines with electronic fuel injection. The versatile tools featuring STIHL injection are the most powerful cut-off machines in the STIHL range. Their electronically controlled fuel injection systems guarantee optimum engine performance and perfect running characteristics. Even complex cuts on stone or metallic construction materials can be handled ergonomically and with precision and minimal emissions. An anti-vibration system also reduces the amount of shaking on the handles.
The following battery-operated products for home gardening are set to be launched:
- With the STIHL HSA 30 and HSA 40 battery-operated hedge trimmers, STIHL offers lightweight entry-level tools for small gardens that are particularly easy to operate and offer impressive cutting performance.
- The STIHL FSA 30 battery-operated trimmer is perfect for the areas of smaller gardens that are difficult to reach with a lawn mower. The FSA 30 is both light and versatile. It can be converted from horizontal use to precision edge trimmer in a flash without the need for any additional tools.
- For more complex tasks, the new STIHL FSA 80 battery-operated clearing saw – which comes standard with a grass cutting blade – is ideal for mowing grass and smaller lawns. It can also be fitted with other cutting tools, including mowing heads and a range of other grass cutting blades. The STIHL FSA 80 R variant with a loop handle and line mowing head offers outstanding flexibility.
- In the battery-operated lawn mower segment, the completely revamped range of STIHL Series 2 and Series 4 models offers a tool to meet every need. With or without self-propulsion, the Series 2 and Series 4 ranges offer plenty of choice and unrivalled comfort and performance with a catcher kit or mulcher, side or rear discharge, and cutting widths of 41, 46, or 51 cm.
- The new STIHL KMA 80 R battery-operated KombiEngine offers genuine versatility. Whether it's clearing pathways or outdoor areas, loosening soil, trimming grass, or cutting back hedges and trees, the twelve tried-and-tested KombiTools - like the cutter, pole pruner, and long-reach hedge trimmer - make quick work of jobs around the house.
There is also an attractive new addition to the range of toys in the STIHL brand shop, developed in partnership with Playmobil: the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Edition Playmobil set. The set consists of two PLAYMOBIL athletes competing in the chainsaw discipline Hot Saw and the axe event Standing Block Chop, as well as a PLAYMOBIL cameraman. The competition setting is rounded off with STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® advertising boards, floodlights, and sidewalk sign - the perfect way for fans of all ages to pass the time until the sporting highlight of the season, the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship in Stuttgart this November.
STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship in Stuttgart
This year, the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® World Championship is returning Stuttgart, which hosted the event back in 2013 and 2016. As the rush for tickets shows, it was high time the competition returned to the city in southwest Germany. Competitors will battle it out in the Porsche Arena on November 3 and 4 in front of a sell-out crowd of 13,000. Only a small number of tickets are still available. Over 120 world-class athletes from over 20 nations will compete in team and individual events in November and offer extreme sports action at the highest level.