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2001 FIN – Würth Breaks 2001 Two-Digit Billion Sales Goal; Seeks 16% of Worldwide Fastener Market

January 02
00:00 2015

February 7, 2001 FIN –  The Würth Group announced it met the goal set in 1987 by Reinhold Würth to reach DM10 billion in sales by 2000.
Worldwide sales for the Künzelsau, Germany-based Würth Group grew 25% over 1999 to reach DM10.04 billion (equivalent to US$4.83 billion).
Würth set a new goal of increasing the group’s worldwide market share from 4% to 16%.
“In the coming 10 years we will be able to think in dimensions of sales of DM20 billion to 30 billion,” the chair of the privately held Würth Group predicted.
The company is forecasting a 12% to 15% sales growth in 2001, with a 6.5% rate of return. For 2000, the Würth Group reported 13.1% of the growth was organic and the remainder from acquisitions.
Würth’s Germany companies reported 27.8% sales growth to DM4.39 billion, and sales outside the country grew 22.9% to account for more than half of total sales at DM5.65 billion.
The wood division is the largest at DM 2.15 billion, both automotive and metal divisions totaled DM1.74 billion, and the industry division DM 560 million.
However, profits lagged behind sales growth. Pretax profits are projected between DM580 million and 600 million, compared with DM 545 million for 1999.
“Exchange losses in connection with the U.S. dollar bond from 1987, as well as expenditures for the reorganization of Uni Elektro Group were cited as reasons for the slower profit growth.
While sales grew at a 25% pace, employment increased 15.7% to 36,096 at the end of 2000. A majority of personnel – 18,459 – are in sales. One-third – 12,596 – are based in Germany.
During 2000 Würth Group started new companies in Egypt, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic and Hungary. Würth Group now has 236 companies in 76 countries.

Profits in 55 of 56 Years
Reinhold Würth was 19 years old when he took over the Swabian screw shop upon the sudden death of his father.
Only in 1975 – one year of the company’s 56-year history – did Würth Group suffer a sales decrease.
Reinhold Würth remembers 1966 as a difficult year because Germany was shaken by its first deep recession after World War II. “In the automotive sector, people were dismissed, and companies closed down,” Würth recalled.
But instead of complaining about the bad economic situation, Würth sought to “spread optimism” and announced a goal to triple the number of salespeople from 35 to over 100.
“Everyone roared with laughter at their boss,” according to the company. “But his forecast came true, just a lot earlier.”
By 1978 Würth Group reached DM330 million in sales, and Würth predicted sales of DM 1 billion by 1985. Sales were at DM 1.34 billion when he announced his Vision 2000 goal of 30,000 employees and worldwide sales of DM10 billion. Würth is giving all 36,000 employees a watch to commemorate the company reaching the goal.
“Visions set unexpected energy free and are extremely vital for long-term business success,” Würth said of his strategy.
When Würth spoke to the National Fastener Distributors Association in 1999 he acknowledged he needed a big boost from 1997’s DM 7.1 billion to reach the double-digit goal by 2000.
“Maybe I’ll have to acquire two to four companies,” Würth said to the audience, which included several of the North American companies he had recently acquired.
And “if it is 2001 before we reach the goal, the world will not collapse,” Würth deadpanned at the NFDA meeting.
The Würth Group emphasis on the proportion of sales staff comes from Reinhold Würth’s interest in sales. He told FIN in a 1997 interview that the “profession of being a salesperson is most fascinating. It is unbelievable the different characters you meet. You see all kinds of species of God’s garden. Sales is very, very interesting.”
Even after reaching the status of one of the world’s richest men, according to Forbes magazine, Würth continued to make sales calls with his salespeople to keep motivated and in touch with customers. ©2001/2014 Fastener Industry News.
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