- Sales up by 4.8 percent to set a new record of EUR 14.3 billion
- Operating result down to EUR 770 million
- Further increase in the share of e-business to 18.3 percent
In 2019, the Würth Group achieved record sales of EUR 14.3 billion (previous year: EUR 13.6 billion). This represents growth of 4.8 percent. After adjustments to reflect exchange rate effects, the rate of growth came out at 4.2 percent.
Sales development in 2019 painted an unusually mixed picture. This is reflected in varying developments in the individual regions on the one hand, and within the Group’s business units on the other. In Germany, sales growth was on the modest side at 2.2 percent, largely due to the critical situation faced by the automotive industry. This had a marked impact on developments in business units such as the Würth Elektronik Group, manufacturing companies and tool distributors, whose customers come from this sector of industry, and translated into a drop in sales in 2019. By contrast, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, the nucleus of the Group and the German sales organization of the Würth Line, reported growth of 5.4 percent. The Electrical Wholesale business unit actually achieved double-digit growth, also thanks to the acquisition of Grupo Electro Stocks, S.L.U., one of Spain’s leading electrical wholesalers, in 2019. All in all, company acquisitions contributed 0.8 percentage points to sales growth.
Outside of Germany, the Group increased its sales by 6.7 percent. Satisfactory growth rates were achieved in Southern Europe (+ 15.4 percent; 4.9 percent after adjustments to reflect acquisitions), South America (+ 8.1 percent) and Eastern Europe (+ 6.4 percent). All of the individual regions reported an increase in sales in 2019.
The positive developments in e-business continued in 2019, and e-business sales showed above-average growth, climbing to EUR 2.6 billion in 2019. This brought their share of Group sales up to 18.3 percent. The successful model of multi-channel sales once again proved effective.
The operating result was down on the previous year at EUR 770 million (2018: EUR 870 million). One of the reasons explaining this downward trend is the gross profit margin, which came under pressure. It was not possible to pass rising purchase prices on to customers on the market in full. In addition, the Würth Group continued to invest in expanding its business model and in growth initiatives. The rate of return fell in a year-on-year comparison to 5.4 percent (2018: 6.4 percent).
In order to implement its planned strategies, the Würth Group is making sustainable investments in its various business areas and markets. Capital expenditure on intangible assets and property, plant and equipment came to EUR 705 million in 2019.
The number of employees rose by 1,606 to 78,686 in 2019. As in the past, the majority of the employees are still based in Germany. The German workforce totaled 24,344 in 2019, which corresponds to an increase of 2.4 percent. Würth is a sales company at its core. Including sales-related areas, more than 49,000 employees have direct contact with customers, with 33,979 of them working as sales representatives. Thus, the Würth Group remains the world’s biggest employer of salaried sales representatives.