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WINTERSTEIGER increases turnover and profit levels in 2015

In the past business year 2015, the WINTERSTEIGER Group increased its turnover by just over 2 % while raising both earnings before taxes (EBT) and operating cash flow by more than 10 %.


In 2015, Group turnover of €138.9 million increased by 2.3 % compared to the previous year. In terms of turnover and earnings in 2015, the SPORTS business field – the largest division of the Group, accounting for 40 % of turnover – enjoyed its strongest year in the history of the company according to Chief Financial Officer Harold Kostka, who has also headed the sales division of WINTERSTEIGER since the autumn of 2015.


Thanks to plant engineering, the METALS and AUTOMATION business fields saw their turnover increase in the past business year. As for METALS, this was partly due to the initial consolidation of the German Paul Ernst Maschinenfabrik GmbH, acquired in 2015.


Turnover declined in 2015 for the SEEDMECH and WOODTECH business fields. For SEEDMECH, this was due to lower seed prices on the world market and the current wave of mergers between large customers; for WOODTECH, the fall was due to a reluctance to invest in the woodworking industry.


Overall, Kostka emphasizes how the multi-sector strategy of WINTERSTEIGER – diversified across various markets and regions – enabled the company to raise its earnings in 2015 despite the challenging market environment.


As of December 31, 2015, WINTERSTEIGER had 919 employees worldwide, with 525 of those based at the facilities in Ried, Austria.


With an increase in return on sales, overall profitability and return on equity, and an equity ratio just under 50 %, WINTERSTEIGER remains a stable corporate group. As an example of the continuing focus on sales and distribution, Kostka points to WINTERSTEIGER's successful 2015 opening and full SAP integration of the B2B online shop for the Sports business field. Nonetheless, the management board regards the digital development of sales as only a supplement to the continued close, direct and personal contact that the mechanical engineering firm maintains with its international customer base. The supervisory board of WINTERSTEIGER AG is currently looking for a new director responsible for sales, marketing and service to complement the existing management team. 


In the three business fields based in Ried, Austria – SPORTS, SEEDMECH and WOODTECH – new products were developed and presented to a broad audience in 2015, underlining the innovative approach at WINTERSTEIGER. The Group’s R&D ratio amounted to 8.2 % of turnover.


Improvements in processes, products and performance will characterize 2016.

Although WINTERSTEIGER remains open for further acquisitions, the main focus in 2016 will be on improving internal processes, products and performance. “In 2015 we reorganized the Group structure. Now we are working on the necessary fine-tuning and continuing improvement of our organizational structure and processes,” says Kostka, referring to the completion of a key internal milestone in 2015 – the consolidation of sales, product management and development for the three business fields at Ried.


Emphasis on the METALS business field.

“There will be a particular focus on the METALS business field in 2016,” emphasizes Chief Technical Officer Christian Rauscher, the management board member chiefly responsible for the two German subsidiary companies of Kohler and Ernst. After the first quarter of 2016, Rauscher is confident that important milestones for a path of positive development have been put in place: the new double-CEO leadership at Kohler and the relocation of the entire Ernst technology division to Ried.


The management board expects the sales trend in 2016 to be similar to that of 2015, and is optimistic regarding the Group’s earnings performance for the current year.


Additional information:


Diversification includes five main areas.

The WINTERSTEIGER Group is active in five different markets in the five business fields of SPORTS, SEEDMECH, WOODTECH, AUTOMATION and METALS. The common denominator across these very different business fields is the increasing individualization of machines and systems. Many products – including the thin-cutting band saws, automated ski servicing machines and metal deburring machines – are either offered in modular designs or can be expanded to meet rising capacity requirements.


SPORTS: Still the worldwide undisputed number one for ski servicing and rental.

The SPORTS business field depends largely on seasonal business in the winter sports regions of the Alps and North America. Despite the late onset of winter in the Alps, a sales record was achieved in 2015 thanks to the acquisition of large-scale projects and the strong USD and CHF. 


SEEDMECH: Europe and Asia booming, North and South America in decline.

In the SEEDMECH business field, WINTERSTEIGER leads the global market for agricultural field test machinery. Combine harvesters account for the biggest proportion of sales, followed by seeder machines and laboratory equipment. WINTERSTEIGER is represented around the world through direct distribution, and has maintained its own sales and service organizations for many years where customers are involved in agricultural research in North America, Brazil, China and Russia.


Machinery sales strong for WOODTECH while plant engineering falters.

WINTERSTEIGER leads the market for precision thin-cutting of wood and successfully strengthened its position in 2015. However, customers for plant engineering and TRC (timber repair and cosmetics) machinery proved reluctant to go ahead with many investments in 2015. This led to a decline in turnover in the last business year, despite the fact that sales of machinery and sawing equipment were strong in that area.


AUTOMATION still on the rise.

The AUTOMATION business field (VAP Gruber Automations GmbH in Mettmach, Austria) again achieved significant gains in 2015. The AUTOMATION business field produces systems and automation solutions for industrial manufacturing firms.


METALS: Machine sales segment expanded.

The wholly owned German subsidiary companies of WINTERSTEIGER, Kohler Maschinenbau GmbH of Lahr in the Black Forest and Paul Ernst Maschinenfabrik GmbH of Eschelbronn near Heidelberg, supply the sheet metal processing industry with levelling technology systems and machines for part levelling and deburring. The acquisition of Ernst in January 2015 enabled the METALS business field to expand its key machinery distribution segment successfully. The consolidation of the two sales and service organizations as well as the international distributor network is in progress.


Fact box: The 2015 business year

Group turnover: 138.9 million euros (previous year: 135.8)

EBT: 4.5 million euros (previous year: 4.0)

Operating cash flow: 5.2 million euros (previous year: 4.7)

Group equity ratio: 49 percent (previous year: 49)

Equity ratio of parent company: 59 percent (previous year: 56)

Export ratio: 83 percent (previous year: 88)

R&D expenditure: 11.4 million euros (previous year: 10.8)

Staff world-wide as of December 31: 919 (previous year: 942)

Staff at Ried location as of December 31: 525 (previous year: 561)