Waiblingen, 4/28/2020 | Company press release

STIHL Group achieves revenue growth in 2019 and remains optimistic for the medium term

  • Coronavirus crisis: Family-owned company shoulders responsibility towards employees
  • Expansion of e-commerce: STIHL launches own online store in Germany
  • Gasoline, battery, digital: New products presented in product segments

The STIHL Group achieved revenue of 3.93 billion euros in fiscal year 2019. That represents a 4 percent increase over the previous year (3.78 billion euros). If the effects of foreign exchange rates are excluded, revenue growth would have been around 2.7 percent. STIHL Executive Board Chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora explained at the company’s annual press conference: “Despite numerous challenges in the past year, we have been able to record increased revenue in the Group. At the same time, spiraling trade conflicts, a weakening global economy and unfavorable weather conditions have left their mark.” In addition, there has been an increasing trend to replace gasoline products with cordless battery products. While sales of battery products rose, there was falling demand for gasoline products. Considered overall, sales remained stable. The first quarter of this year has already been detrimentally influenced by the worldwide spread of COVID-19. “After a very good January and February, the first quarter was on a par with last year’s result. As dealerships have been shut down in a number of countries, we are assuming there will be a noticeable decline in the second quarter. But we remain optimistic for the medium term,” said the STIHL Executive Board Chairman. “Being a family-owned company, we are bearing a considerable amount of responsibility towards our employees during the coronavirus crisis. That means we are endeavoring to secure jobs and, as far as possible, continue to run production lines and supply our dealers – naturally in close cooperation with the health authorities, and in compliance with strict and regulatory protective measures in the plants. After all, we also have a responsibility towards our more than 53,000 servicing dealers and millions of customers,” said Dr. Kandziora.

Worldwide markets show divergent trends in 2019

In 2019 the individual markets presented a very varied picture. Sales developed favorably in Western and Eastern Europe, excluding Russia. North America, which has been the STIHL Group’s growth engine for many years, recorded a slight decline. This trend is primarily due to the cold and wet weather at the beginning of the gardening season. In Asia, the company achieved a slight increase in unit sales. India in particular developed very favorably and showed double-digit growth. Unit sales in Africa, where the company has a subsidiary in South Africa and, since 2017, a second subsidiary in Kenya, are at the same level as the previous year. “We further expanded the STIHL dealer network last year. Customers can now go to more than 53,000 servicing dealers throughout the world to buy STIHL products and obtain trusted professional advice and technical services,” said Dr. Kandziora.
The number of employees in the group was down 2.3 percent compared to the same time in the previous year. As at December 31, 2019, STIHL employed a total of 16,722 people.

German market on the up and with new online offering

  • 2019 exceeds previous year’s level
    In fiscal year 2019 STIHL achieved a moderate increase in unit sales and revenue on the German market in spite of the lasting effects of the drought in 2018. “We are pleased to see growth in sales of cordless tools and high-pressure cleaners,” explained the STIHL Executive Board Chairman. On the current financial year, he said: “2020 started positively. We have been able to report significant increases in revenue up to March.”
  • Expansion of e-commerce: Launch of STIHL online store brought forward
    The launch of the STIHL online store (www.stihl.de) to the German market was brought forward to March 20, 2020. Now almost all STIHL power tools can be ordered online for delivery directly to the customer’s doorstep. This new e-commerce offering also strengthens the position of servicing dealers. “When a customer makes a purchase in the new STIHL online store, they will also be recommended a nearby dealer as the local in-person contact who can offer professional advice and service as usual. For providing these services, the local dealer receives a payment from STIHL at the time of purchase,” emphasized Dr. Kandziora.

STIHL parent company: Moderate increase in revenue and high investments in 2019

The German parent company, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, achieved a moderate increase in revenue in 2019, of 0.8 percent to 1.21 billion euros (previous year: 1.2 billion euros). A change in the product mix also contributed to this. In the past year for example, more higher-value products were sold than in the year before. On the other hand, unit sales were down for the parent company. “Nevertheless, family-owned company STIHL continues to occupy a strong position in Germany,” said Dr. Kandziora. Investments in 2019 amounted to 134 million euros (previous year: 124 million euros). The major portion of the investments was allocated to the extension of the Ludwigsburg logistics center, adding floors to the production logistics center in Waiblingen-Neustadt as well as modernizing the founding company’s headquarters and building the STIHL Brand World in Waiblingen.
The workforce of ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG grew by 1.9 percent compared to the previous year’s reporting date. As at December 31, 2019, there were 5,090 people employed by the parent company. Of that total, 3,626 were employed in Waiblingen, 247 in Ludwigsburg, 395 in Fellbach, 755 in Weinsheim and 67 in Wiechs am Randen.

STIHL remains optimistic for the medium and long term

The first quarter of the current year was severely affected by worldwide measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic. STIHL started the year with increased unit sales and revenue, but the spread of the coronavirus had a negative effect on business from March onwards. STIHL expects there to be an overall decline in unit sales in 2020. However, owing to the very dynamic situation, the effects of measures to counter the pandemic are not yet predictable with any certainty. “Thanks to our high degree of flexibility, we can react quickly to changes in the markets. We remain optimistic for the medium and long term,” said Dr. Kandziora. Once the coronavirus crisis is behind us, STIHL expects the markets to again gather momentum and for unit sales to rise. “Nevertheless, we are faced with a number of challenges that need to be dealt with: Apart from continuing business operations while considerable restrictions affect production and sales during the pandemic, we have to address increasing levels of competition in the battery segment. Furthermore, weak global economic conditions can be expected in 2020. To cope with these challenges we have instigated a number of projects for increasing efficiency and saving costs within the company. STIHL has already weathered a number of crises since it was founded more than 90 years ago. I am confident that we will also prevail over this worldwide coronavirus crisis. And I would like to explicitly thank our employees for their enormous commitment, the observance of absolutely essential safety measures to avoid the spread of coronavirus and outstanding cooperation in the group,” emphasized Dr. Kandziora.

STIHL presents new products for 2020

For the first half of the year STIHL has announced a number of new products in the battery, gasoline and digital segments.

  • New battery products for private and professional users
    In the STIHL AK cordless power system for private garden owners and semi professionals, the STIHL RLA 240 scarifier provides two functions in one tool thanks to its dethatching roller and aerating unit. The STIHL FSA 57 trimmer promises excellent low-noise cutting power and can be equipped with either a mowing head with quiet nylon line (AutoCut C 3-2) or polymer blades (PolyCut 3-2). The pleasantly quiet, powerful and also attractively priced STIHL BGA 57 blower will be launched to market in summer. It makes it possible to clean surfaces in residential areas quickly and effortlessly.
    The versatile STIHL HSA 26 shrub and grass shears are a recent addition to the STIHL AS cordless power system for private users. Equipped with a double-edged shrub shearing blade as well as a twelve-centimeter-wide grass shearing blade, it is an ideal tool for keeping shrubs and grasses in shape. Another tool in this battery line is the innovative STIHL GTA 26 garden pruner, which was launched last fall and has been in high demand ever since.
    The STIHL AP cordless power system, designed primarily for professional users in gardening and landscaping companies as well as local authorities, now includes the STIHL RMA 765 V lawn mower with a cutting width of 63 cm and the STIHL BGA 86 (15 newtons blowing force) and STIHL BGA 200 (21 newtons) blowers.
    The new STIHL battery charging cabinet, developed together with the Kesseböhmer company, allows up to 20 STIHL batteries to be charged simultaneously, including overnight. An intelligent load management system reliably ensures that all the batteries are ready for use the next day.
  • World first in gasoline segment
    In the professional chainsaw segment the third-generation STIHL MS 261 C-M with optimized engine and new cutting attachment delivers 20 percent more cutting performance and does so with a reduced overall weight. It has been available since the beginning of April 2020. A world first in the same segment is the STIHL MS 400 C-M. It is the first chainsaw ever to feature a magnesium piston. The use of this light material in conjunction with consistently lightweight construction has resulted in an exceptionally good power-to-weight ratio, of less than 1.5 kilogram per kW. At the same time, the new component allows a maximum engine speed of 14,000 RPM. Professional users in forestry will appreciate the extra performance this delivers, particularly when delimbing. The STIHL MS 400 C-M is set for launch on the German market in the fall of 2020, though it has already been highly acclaimed. “In recognition of the innovative technology of the magnesium piston – which is produced in the in-house STIHL die casting plant in Weinsheim (Eifel) – STIHL was awarded first prize by the Europäische Forschungsgemeinschaft Magnesium e.V. (EFM) and the International Magnesium Association (IMA) in the magnesium components category of the die casting competitions at the Euroguss 2020 trade exhibition,” Dr. Kandziora said, with pleasure.
  • New connected app in digital product segment
    The STIHL connected app for professional users is new in the digital product segment. It will be available soon and offers a quick and concise overview of power tool data, upcoming maintenance dates as well as the last known location of the power tools. In addition, the user can view which power tools are in the immediate vicinity.

STIHL Brand Shop with new collection

Just in time for the start of the outdoor season, the new collection is now available in the STIHL online Brand Shop at www.stihl-markenshop.de. Customers and fans of the brand will find everything that warms the hearts of true STIHL enthusiasts – from exclusively designed textiles and accessories to wooden toys and historic models and fan items. Among other things, the popularity of this concept is demonstrated by the fact that the “Contra Lightning” universal storage box received the Promotional Gift Award 2020 in the special design category.

STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® WM 2020 in Gothenburg

Lumberjack sports are also affected by the current measures to suppress the coronavirus. For this reason all the planned events in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Extreme Sport Series up to the end of June – including the World Trophy scheduled for the end of May in Vienna – have been officially canceled. Depending on how the situation unfolds, a decision on the remainder of the international season will be made in a considered and responsible manner. This also applies to the World Championships in Sweden scheduled for the beginning of November.

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