Stuttgart The world’s largest fastening and assembly specialist, Würth, increased its sales by almost three billion euros to 19.95 billion euros. “If the year had lasted just one working day longer, we would have come in at over 20 billion euros,” Würth boss Robert Friedmann told the Handelsblatt. But actually he was quite right not to have made it. “Otherwise everyone would have said that Friedmann tricked that out.”
The operating result also increased by 18.1 percent from 1.27 to 1.5 billion euros. However, Friedmann expressly points out that Würth is not a winner from inflation. “We were not able to pass on the price increases on the cost side to our customers together with the prices.” The increase in profit resulted primarily from the increase in volume. The entire group has gained 75,000 new customers worldwide.
Above all, the ability to deliver was decisive for the increase in sales. In the past two years, Würth has stocked up on the usual amount with goods worth EUR 800 million. “Those who can deliver when others have problems gain market share,” said Friedmann.
Another important factor is productivity increases of ten percent each in the past two years. A significant part of this was due to the corona. “We’ve gotten used to mobile working, and a lot of work is faster and easier to do digitally,” says Friedmann. In this way, the company saves on costly business trips and trade fairs.
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The Würth boss wants to retain as much of this increased productivity as possible, but he is certain that there will be more business trips again in the next few years. The screw manufacturer grew up with an army of sales staff, but has massively expanded its network of sales offices and online business in recent years.
“I am pleased that our multi-channel strategy via direct sales, branches and e-commerce not only works in good times, but also in crises like these,” emphasized Friedmann. The share of online trade grew disproportionately by a fifth and now accounts for 20.7 percent of sales. Friedmann also sees this as a reason why Würth has been able to increase profitability over the past two years.
Screw dealer becomes an electronics giant
The electrical wholesale business was particularly successful with growth of around a quarter. This area is benefiting greatly from the boom in renewable energies.
The high-margin electronics group with its areas of passive electronic components, printed circuit boards and electronic and electromechanical solutions also showed very robust business development with sales growth of 22.5 percent.
>> Read about this: Electrical parts from the king of screws: Würth advances into new business areas
Friedmann remains cautious for the current year: “In addition to the Ukraine war, it remains to be seen how consumer behavior and energy prices will develop and what effect China’s relaxed zero-Covid strategy will have on the supply chains.” Despite the recession, he expects seven to nine percent growth and hopes that after deducting the expected inflation, real growth will ultimately remain for the Würth Group.
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