Waiblingen, 4/18/2018 | Company press release

STIHL reports triple record for fiscal year 2017

  • Revenue, unit sales and number of employees of the STIHL Group at an all-time high
  • STIHL presents new product innovations in the smart solutions segment
  • First chainsaw with injection, STIHL MS 500i, available from the 2018/19 season

“The STIHL Group achieved a record high once again in 2017 with sales revenue amounting to 3.8 billion euros. This corresponds to an increase of 9.7 percent compared to last year,” announced Chairman of the STIHL Executive Board, Dr. Bertram Kandziora, during the company’s balance sheet press conference on April 18 in Waiblingen. Excluding the influence of exchange rates, growth in revenue would have been 10.2 percent. “We have significantly increased our market share and consolidated our leading position in global markets,” continued the Executive Board Chairman. In addition to gasoline-powered tools, cordless products for domestic users were also among the growth drivers. “In order to make our products even more attractive, many of our activities in 2017 concerned digitalization. We want to create real added value for end users and our dealers by harnessing new technologies and intelligent networking.”

STIHL exceeds the 10-million-unit mark in sales for the first time

The STIHL Group recorded double-digit growth rates on all continents in 2017. “Last year we sold more than 10 million engine units worldwide for the first time,” reported Dr. Kandziora. Unit sales in the gasoline-powered segment achieved double-digit growth, and for cordless products it more than doubled. “We were able to acquire new customer groups with the expanded cordless product portfolio. The newly introduced cordless products for domestic users are also popular and have triggered a strong surge in demand worldwide,” noted the Executive Board Chairman.
North America and Western Europe were once again among the strongest markets. However, above-average growth was also generated in Asia and Oceania. The positive development worldwide is also reflected in the number of employees. Dr. Kandziora: “We already passed the 15,000 mark at the beginning of 2017. On the reporting date of December 31, 2017, The STIHL Group employed a workforce of 15,875. This equates to a rise of 6.4 percent compared to the previous year.”

German market continues on a growth course

In the German market STIHL achieved a significant increase in unit sales and revenue in 2017. “The chainsaw business showed healthy growth. The VIKING iMow robotic lawn mower and the new STIHL cordless lawn mower, which were introduced in the course of the brand changeover, have also met with a positive response from our customers,” explained the Executive Board Chairman. “In 2018, we will expand our market positioning with new products, strong campaigns and further investment in the expansion of the dealer network.”

Worldwide growth has positive effect on German head office

At the parent company, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, revenue increased by 13.3 percent year-on-year, to a record level of 1.15 billion euros. The export quota remains at the previous year’s level, at 88.9 percent. The workforce grew by 6.6 percent and now stands at 4,654 employees. As at December 31, 2017, 3,618 employees worked in Waiblingen; 278 in Ludwigsburg; 693 in Prüm-Weinsheim; and 65 in Wiechs am Randen. Due to positive business development, 120 staff were taken on as permanent employees last year, with more than 80 already on-board by the end of March 2018. “We are expecting a further increase in the number of employees at our company headquarters during the current fiscal year. Over 200 vacant positions are set to be filled in the near future in the areas of connected products, batteries, electronics and IT,” reported Dr. Kandziora.

Strong financial structure allows substantial investments

The significant growth of the company necessitates extensive expansions and construction measures. In 2017, the investment volume in the STIHL Group amounted to 248 million euros. Of this, around 30 percent went to the German head office. This contrasted with depreciation and amortization amounting to 156 million euros. “With an equity ratio of 70.2 percent, our capital and financial structure remains good. As a profitable and independent family-owned company and thanks to our shareholders’ cautious policy in terms of withdrawing funds, we are able to finance all investments from our own liquid funds,” emphasized Dr. Kandziora. Among other destinations, the funds are going into the worldwide production and sales network, research and development and the IT infrastructure. The company is planning to invest more than one billion euros worldwide by 2021.

Digitalization opens up long-term potential for new business areas

“Digitalization could be the growth engine for STIHL in the next few years. We have already been working on digitalization for several years – but the subject really picked up pace in 2017,” explained Dr. Kandziora. “The development and production of robust and reliable products in the usual top STIHL quality remains the focus of our activities. We are making these products even more attractive with software and smart services,” underlined the STIHL Executive Board Chairman. The potential here applies to the entire value chain, beginning with production processes and extending through smart products and new business models, right up to servicing and sales. “We can see promising opportunities, particularly in the business fields of the smart garden, Forestry 4.0 and advanced landscaping. But there is also huge potential in the areas of fleet management, protection against theft and optimization of maintenance intervals,” said the STIHL Executive Board Chairman.

New corporate structures to accelerate digitalization

STIHL has established new structures and work processes for bundling and accelerating all activities relating to digitalization,. Last year a new Digitalization department and STIHL Digital GmbH were set up. This company invests in young enterprises that develop digital business models and take them to product maturity. Dr. Kandziora: “Furthermore, we are consistently developing our processes to enable us to act even more quickly and more dynamically. For example, we have established the first ‘Innovation Labs’ within the company, in which interdisciplinary teams are working intensively on new business ideas.”

New digital products in the smart solutions segment

  • STIHL GCI 100 Smart Garden Hub for efficient garden irrigation
    With the STIHL GCI 100 Smart Garden Hub the company has presented an intelligent solution that, as reported by Dr. Kandziora, “not only makes irrigating your own garden more efficient while saving on costs and resources, but also hints at the beginning of a vision of the smart garden of the future.” The STIHL GCI 100 controls the irrigation of domestic gardens and larger areas, such as parks and sports pitches, on the basis of real-time weather data. The intelligent system is operated via an app which runs on a smartphone or tablet. “This simplifies green area maintenance and reduces water consumption in the garden by up to 50 percent,” emphasized the Chairman of the STIHL Executive Board. Furthermore, the product can be networked with the VIKING iMow robotic lawn mower, thereby enabling mowing and irrigation intervals to be coordinated with each other.
  • Comprehensive networking via STIHL connected
    With STIHL connected, the company is opening up new possibilities for domestic customers in terms of the maintenance and care of their power tools. The system consists of the STIHL Smart Connector, which is attached to the machine and records and stores its operational time, as well as a STIHL app which receives the machine data via Bluetooth transfer. Users then have a detailed overview of their power tools’ operational time, can view maintenance recommendations, and are able to make a service appointment with their dealer directly via the STIHL app. Furthermore, power tool data can be transmitted in advance of the dealer appointment, meaning that time in the workshop is reduced to a minimum. “To meet the special requirements of professional users, we are currently developing a portfolio that facilitates efficient fleet management on a digital basis and offers benefits for customers and dealers alike,” shared Dr. Kandziora.

A world first: The STIHL MS 500i available from the 2018/19 season

The first gasoline-powered chainsaw with electronically controlled fuel injection, the STIHL MS 500i, will be available worldwide at the beginning of next year. “Due to the high level of interest, the STIHL MS 500i is already available in limited quantities for the 2018/19 season in selected markets, including Germany,” announced the Chairman of the STIHL Executive Board. He explained: “The STIHL MS 500i opens up a completely new field of technology for gasoline-driven chainsaws and underpins STIHL’s technological leadership.” Thanks to its lightweight design, it features an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio of less than 1.24 kg/kW, and also sets new standards when it comes to ease of operation and servicing. The engine does not require a carburetor, because the fuel is metered via an electronically controlled injection system. “Moreover, the chainsaw features impressive dynamics. The saw chain accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in a fraction of a second,” reported Dr. Kandziora. Trade visitors will have the first opportunity to test the STIHL MS 500i themselves at the Interforst Trade Fair in July.

More new STIHL products for professional and domestic users

All of the new STIHL products that were presented at the fall press conference last year have either already been introduced to market or are planned for market launch in the near future. The new products that are already available include the STIHL TS 440, which is the world’s first cut-off machine with QuickStop cutting wheel brake, the STIHL SE 133 ME wet and dry vacuum as well as the cordless mulching mowers and cordless lawn mowers which are now available in distinctive STIHL orange following the brand changeover. These include the STIHL RMA 235, STIHL RMA 339 C, STIHL RMA 443 C and STIHL RMA 448 TC lawn mowers as well as the STIHL RMA 2 RT mulch mower. Ready for imminent market launch are the STIHL MS 462 C-M R emergency services saw, which is designed to meet the special requirements of fire departments and disaster response services, and the STIHL KMA 130 R cordless KombiEngine from the PRO cordless power system, which can be fitted with around a dozen different KombiTools, making it an all-rounder for lawn care applications.

New VIKING garden care products

The VIKING product line is being expanded with the VIKING MI 422 PC robotic mower, which can be controlled via an app from anywhere – whether you’re on your own patio or on holiday. “This increases convenience and flexibility for our customers. Moreover, the integration of weather data means that the current weather conditions can be taken into consideration when planning mowing schedules,” explained Dr. Kandziora. Further new products from VIKING include the VIKING MB 448 PC gasoline mower with rear-wheel drive and the nimble VIKING LE 240 electric scarifier.

STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® stops over in France and Great Britain in 2018

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series, the premier league in lumberjack sports, is taking an international tournament to France for the first time, with the Champions Trophy. On May 26, 2018, the twelve best lumberjacks in the world competed in the head-to-head competition in the Old Port of Marseille. In another first, the international season finale of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Series World Championships will visit the British city of Liverpool. To kick off the competition, the best national teams will participate in a relay race at the Echo Arena on October 19, 2018. On October 20, twelve athletes will take part in the individual competition, each hoping to win the most coveted title in lumberjack sports. In both competitions participants are sure to be taking the fight to defending champions New Zealand, who clearly dominated the World Championships in 2017.

Your Press contact

You may also be interested in