- Double-digit growth in sales for the fourth time in succession
- Earnings above 7 percent for the first time
- 600 million euros investment in the future
Stockdorf/Munich – May 14 2018 – “We have continued on our course of growth during 2017 and are accelerating the long-term strategic development of Webasto”, is how the key points made at the company’s annual press conference by Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board, Webasto SE, can be summarized. The conference was held at the new Administration and R&D Center, located at the Webasto Headquarters in Stockdorf, which was opened during a ceremony on the same day. Webasto has invested some 40 million euros in this building, which is geared towards promoting global project cooperation. It provides around 550 attractive and modern office workplaces, has a 2,000-square meter testing area for roof systems and represents the first milestone of the long-term expansion of the Stockdorf site.
Webasto Group sales achieved double-digit growth last year for the fourth time in succession and amounted to some 3.5 billion euros. The share of sales attributable to the sunroof and panorama roof business amounted to 2.6 billion euros (75 percent of total sales), while convertible roofs accounted for 314 million euros (9 percent) and the thermo and air conditioning business generated 553 million euros – therefore amounting to 16 percent of total sales. In China, the largest single market, Webasto generated sales of over one billion euros – amounting to 34 percent of total sales – for the first time last year. The company’s home market of Germany still generated 18 percent of total sales. From a regional perspective, the distribution of sales of the Webasto Group is as follows: Europe 43 percent, Asia 40 percent and the Americas 17 percent.
The automotive supplier increased its profit margin to 7.1 percent in 2017 compared with 6.5 percent for the previous year. The number of employees grew over the same period by a moderate 4 percent to almost 13,000. This expansion of the workforce is primarily attributable to China and Germany. “We have expanded our electronics expertise in Germany in particular,” explained Engelmann.
In 2017 Webasto further reinforced its technological leadership overall: Expenditure on research and development amounted to 233 million euros. The focus was – as in previous years – placed on consistently increasing efficiency and standardization. Investments in buildings and plant amounted to 176 million euros over the past financial year (2016: 150 million euros) – with the focus on China and Europe.
Successful entry into the electromobility market
Looking to the future, Engelmann announced: “We will be investing 600 million euros in the strategic development of Webasto over the coming three years. This will advance our dual strategy of ‘strengthening & participating’, which will allow us to strengthen our core fields of business and open up new segments”, continued Engelmann. The investments are flowing into new products and features for our core business and into the development of capacities and structures. “An important focus will be the expansion of new fields of business for the electromobility market”, explained Engelmann further.
The company has, in the meantime, been able to gain a successful foothold in the growth market of electromobility. Just a few weeks ago, for instance, Webasto and Samsung SDI signed an agreement covering the development and supply of a battery module for the Webasto standard battery system for commercial vehicles. In addition to this, Webasto recently gained its first build-to-print order for a battery system from a manufacturer of busses.
Furthermore, Webasto brought to market its first charging solutions in 2017. These are produced at the company’s electronics site in Schaidt, which Webasto had taken over in 2017. Moreover, the company is benefitting from the growing demand for high-voltage heaters for hybrid and electric vehicles. We now have more than 60 orders for these devices from manufacturers worldwide – interest is particularly high in China. Production is therefore being expanded at our Neubrandenburg site and a new production facility will be created in the Chinese City of Wuhan by the end of 2019.
The forecast for the current financial year is cautiously optimistic. Sales and profit margin for the first quarter of 2018 were slightly lower than for the same period last year. The order backlog has increased by 1.3 billion euros to 14.9 billion euros. Against the backdrop of the investments we are making and the global market trends, Webasto is working on the assumption that the figures for the full year will be comparable with those of the previous year.
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