The Webasto SE Group ended 2016 with very good financial results. Sales increased by 10 percent and exceeded 3 billion euros. Revenue increased by 23 percent and profit by 6.5 percent. The company has 12,000 employees worldwide - 3 percent more than a year ago.
"The Webasto Group considers 2016 a successful year and the company is well prepared for the future", said Dr. Holger Engelmann, CEO of Webasto SE, at the annual automotive supplier conference in Munich. In 2016, Webasto's sales exceeded 3 billion euros for the first time in its history. This was the result of an eight percent increase in sales value compared to the previous year - from 2.9 billion to around 3.2 billion euros. After taking into account the exchange rate adjustment, the increase reached 10 percent. With an EBIT of 206 million euros (2015: 167 million euros), Webasto also achieved a significant increase in revenue of approximately 23 percent. The profit margin in 2016 was 6.5 percent (previous year: 5.7 percent).
Sunroofs and panoramic roofs accounted for the largest share of sales: Sunroofs & Components sales amounted to more than 2.4 billion euros, representing 74 percent of the group's total sales. Convertibles (convertible roofs) accounted for around 300 million euros, 10 percent of total sales. The Thermo & Comfort (heating, cooling and ventilation systems) accounted for 500 million euros, or 16 percent of total sales. The number of employees in the Webasto Group worldwide increased by 3 percent and exceeded 12,000 at the end of 2016.
"We have a very good position in the world in our core business." - said Holger Engelmann, presenting the situation in the regions. The American region, comprising the USA, Central and South America, is developing at a stable pace and has good prospects for the future. A significant part of global sales is still generated by Europe. The most dynamic market is China, where demand for retractable roofs, especially large panoramic roofs, is constantly increasing. Therefore, Webasto will further expand its network of production facilities in China in the coming years. The latest plant was opened at the beginning of May in Baoding (Hebei province).
In 2016, Webasto invested 150 million euros worldwide to expand its production capacity, primarily in Europe and China. A further 220 million euros was invested in research and development. - "The focus on standardization and efficiency allows us to offer our customers a very wide range of tailor-made products and at the same time improve productivity", commented Holger Engelmann.
The dual strategy is bearing fruit
"Our dual strategy, whose fundamental values are expressed in the slogans "strengthening" and "participation", is working." - stressed the President of the Management Board. - "On the one hand, we are constantly strengthening our core business. On the other hand, we are developing new areas of activity, in line with our competence profile, offering solutions for megatrends in the vehicle sector".
Webasto strengthens its core business by implementing new technologies and products, among other things. For example, the company is constantly expanding its line of high voltage radiators (HVH, high voltage heater). Engelmann predicts that these products will have great potential in the coming years, especially in the electromobility sector, because an electric heating system in a battery-powered car is simply necessary. In addition, targeted expansion of vertical integration is important for all departments and product groups. - "Knowledge in the field of electronics is of strategic importance to us. The acquisition of the electronics manufacturer at the beginning of this year was a logical step", explained Holger Engelmann. As far as "participation" is concerned, Webasto focuses on the development and production of battery systems and charging systems for private cars and company fleets within the E-Solutions & Services division. - "As a global, innovative system partner for the automotive industry, we take investment in the future of the automotive industry very seriously based on our experience. This is the future of our business," stressed the CEO.
Corporate culture: another pillar of long-term success
Another pillar of Webasto development is the corporate culture. The corporate program ONE Webasto defines, among other things, the cooperation between all the departments and sites of the company. - "It is not enough to write down and announce the principles of corporate culture". - commented Holger Engelmann. - "The most important thing is to apply our values in everyday life. This cannot be done with directives. It is necessary to support, show examples, enthusiasm and time".
Recent research around the world shows that the level of employee identification with the company is very high and the integration of the corporate culture is good. - "We've been putting a lot of effort into building our corporate culture, which has helped us to be better positioned to compete for employees and customers. - explained Holger Engelmann.
An optimistic vision of the future
The beginning of the financial year 2017 was good for Webasto in terms of sales and income. The volume of orders at the end of the first quarter reached 13.6 billion euros, an increase of 2.7 billion euros compared to the same period in 2016. This allows us to look to the future with optimism, despite changes in the automotive industry and geopolitical uncertainty. "We are on track to reach our €5 billion target by 2020 and have a solid financial basis for further strategic investments and acquisitions. - commented Holger Engelmann.