Detmold, 12.12.2016. After experiencing a slow first quarter in 2016, electrical engineering firm Weidmüller expects total revenue to remain at the same level as last year, as was announced by the company at this year's press conference for the annual financial statements held at its headquarters in Detmold. "The slowdown in growth in China and the negative currency effects have impacted our revenue performance," explained Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Köhler. Further exacerbating the situation is the drop in project business in the process industry as a result of the declining oil price as well as the postponement of projects in the photovoltaics and wind energy sectors. "After a poor first quarter, we initiated the correct measures to ensure that we will in all probability end 2016 with the same revenue figures as recorded in the previous year, after adjustments for foreign currencies," added Chief Financial Officer Jörg Timmermann. As in previous years, Weidmüller will present its final annual results at the Hannover Messe trade show next April.
The Executive Board of the Weidmüller Group (f.l.t.r.): José Carlos Álvarez Tobar (CSO), Jörg Timmermann (CFO), Elke Eckstein (COO) and Dr. Peter Köhler (CEO)
In order to benefit even more from global market trends and overarching trends, Weidmüller will further increase its focus on solutions in Industry 4.0, digitisation and automation. "The importance of data and data analysis is growing and the demand for the networking of devices continues to rise," said Köhler. In both of these areas, Weidmüller is employing digitisation both as a provider and a user: "We aim to make Weidmüller more competitive in the long term using the relevant technologies, further expand our product portfolios and the services we offer in automation and digitisation as well as develop new markets," stated Köhler. In order to do this, the company will increase its efforts in pushing on with its Strategy 2020. "Industry 4.0 and digitisation are key themes within the industry in which we are firmly entrenched and want to offer solutions based on the latest information and communication technologies for the smart factory of the future. We received a great deal of positive feedback for our efforts in these areas at SPS/IPC/DRIVES at the end of November. Weidmüller was in attendance at the trade fair, among other reasons, to showcase a solution for web-based engineering, which when used in combination with control components represents a further development of the established u-remote I/O solution.
Thanks to investments amounting to tens of millions of euro in 2016, Weidmüller is securing the future of its Detmold location. "We are strengthening the location's capacity as a technology centre in the long term and are continuing to develop Detmold as a centre of excellence for metal and surface finishing," explains Chief Operating Officer Elke Eckstein. The company has invested more than seven million euro into this area in the past year, with a great deal being dedicated to the renovation of the Metal Production facilities. In addition to this, the electrical engineering specialist is currently planning to build a new Customer & Technology Center (CTC) in Detmold. The new building complex will be developed on Klingenbergstraße and will provide just under 12,000 square metres of floor space for approximately 400 employees. The first ground is scheduled to be broken for this complex in the first quarter of 2017. "The Customer & Technology Center is an important part of our future concept, with which we hope to press on with establishing a global network between our locations around the world and our customers, as well as pooling our technological competencies," clarified Köhler. Weidmüller has around 4,500 employees worldwide, almost 2,000 of whom – including trainees, sponsored students and working students – work at the Head Office in Detmold.
With the development of new, ever-changing markets in mind, maintaining a global presence continues to remain important. In the middle of the past year, Weidmüller reorganised its sales regions in an effort to ensure greater proximity to its international customers, establish a presence in growth markets, better utilise synergies and increase the company's competitive capacity. "These measures allows us to adapt more effectively to the changing needs of our customers, provide the optimal response to region-specific requirements and at the same time offset any fluctuations in the global markets," explains Chief Marketing and Sales Officer José Carlos Álvarez Tobar. "The first successes have been proof that the new regional structure is having the desired effect."
Making a forecast for the coming year is proving to be difficult. A great many factors, such as the UK's planned departure from the EU, the effects of the presidential elections in the US and the further development of the oil price, are making for an uncertain situation on the global markets: "At the moment, it is difficult to predict how the situation will turn out. The ZVEI expects growth of two percent in Germany and four percent globally,” said Köhler. “What is certain is that we are well-positioned with regard to the key themes of Industry 4.0, digitisation and automation thanks to the innovative solutions and services we offer as well as the level of investment we have made.” For this reason, the Executive Board expects Weidmüller to achieve sales growth in the low single-digit percent range in 2017.