WINTERSTEIGER posts double-digit sales growth in 2019
Ried im Innkreis, Austria. In 2019, the WINTERSTEIGER group increased its group turnover by 14 % to 182 million euros, thereby achieving an EBITDA margin of more than 10 %.
“2019 was a very good year for WINTERSTEIGER. We were able to gain enough momentum to be ready for the current challenges of our global business,” says CEO Dr. Florestan von Boxberg. Chief Financial Officer Harold Kostka emphasizes that after four strong years in which the budget was achieved and with an extremely moderate payout ratio, the group faces the coronavirus crisis from a very robust financial position.
The international machinery and plant engineering group's turnover reached 182 million euros (up 22 million) in 2019. Nine million euros of the increase in turnover came from two company acquisitions in Germany (SERRA Maschinenbau GmbH for the WOODTECH division) and the UK (TRIALS Equipment UK Ltd. for the SEEDMECH division), which took place at the beginning of 2019.
“We are particularly pleased that we were able to grow in all our business fields last year,” emphasizes Boxberg. The successful SPORTS business field defended its leading position as a turnkey solution provider for the winter sports business and ski rental and achieved a turnover of 74 million euros (up 5 million euros).
After several years of stagnation, the SEEDMECH business field, which specializes in solutions for the seed breeding process, managed to increase turnover by 10 million euros to 41 million euros. “Having largely modernized and greatly upgraded our product portfolio for combines and seeders in regard to function, we are currently seeing good levels of demand for our products and services for the seed industry, despite the coronavirus crisis,” says Boxberg, who also expects this to be supported by digital additions to the portfolio. In spring, WINTERSTEIGER took over the German start-up Kenomx, a developer of highly specialized breeding software, and signed an exclusive global collaboration agreement with the French drone manufacturer Delair for the seed breeding market.
The turnover for the WOODTECH business field grew by 4 million euros to 34 million euros in 2019. Kostka stresses that the division's international growth opportunities remain intact through the acquisition of SERRA and through the group's own plant engineering company VAP focusing on the needs of the woodworking industry. What is particularly pleasing in the WOODTECH division – not least due to the synergies with SERRA – is the excellent utilization of sawing tool production in the Thuringian town of Arnstadt, which WINTERSTEIGER significantly expanded in 2018.
In the METALS division, turnover was also up by 3 million to 33 million euros in 2019. “Our strategy in leveling technology of expanding the segment of part-leveling machines as well as strip-leveling machines and systematically rolling them out internationally has worked out,” enthuses Boxberg. The WINTERSTEIGER subsidiaries in China, Russia, and the USA contributed significantly to the growth of METALS.
“Growth is only healthy if the profit contribution is also right – and that's true at WINTERSTEIGER!” says CFO Kostka, adding: “With a group EBITDA of 19 million (up 5 million), we reported a return on sales of more than 10 % in 2019.”
As of December 31, 2019, WINTERSTEIGER employed 1,047 employees worldwide (up 61). At the end of the year, slightly more than half of these were working at the company's Austrian sites.
The Management Board is cautious about the current year. “In addition to our main objective – the health of our employees and business partners – it is important to ensure liquidity and to survive the crisis with as little economic damage as possible. However, due to our high equity ratio and low debt levels, we are trying to also turn the crisis into an opportunity,” says Boxberg. Kostka adds that in the current environment, many customers are counting on WINTERSTEIGER's flexibility and are therefore asking for rental models instead of purchase models. Kostka does not see the crisis as a block to purchasing suitable companies either. We are not going to make major acquisitions at the moment, but we will continue to seek out and buy smaller companies that complement our business fields up to around 10 million euros in annual turnover, which we can finance from our cash flow,” stresses the Chief Financial Officer.