2018 another successful business year for the OECHSLER Group

Group turnover rises to 430 million euros
  • Group turnover rises to 430 million euros
  • Dynamic growth in the Innovative Solutions business segment with SPEEDFACTORY production
  • Research and development the focus of investment activity

The OECHSLER Group, a leading plastics technology group with a global presence and headquarters in Ansbach/Middle Franconia, grew again in 2018 and achieved consolidated sales of 430 million euros in the past financial year (previous year: 369 million euros). The group is active at three German and six other locations worldwide in the Automotive, Medical and Innovative Solutions divisions. The Innovative Solutions business division developed particularly positively in the reporting year, with its share of group turnover increasing from 14 to 22 percent. With three production sites worldwide in Ansbach Brodswinden, Acworth (USA) and Long An (Vietnam), this area also includes the fast-growing SPEEDFACTORY production of sports shoes as well as the manufacture of sports shoe soles using the 3D printing process for adidas by OECHSLER Motion. Despite an increase in sales with innovative products such as the electronic parking brake or sensor components for assisted and autonomous driving, the Automotive segment's share of Group sales fell to 74 percent (after 81 percent in 2017). With a revenue share of four per cent (after 5 per cent in 2017), the third business segment, Medical, declined slightly compared to the previous year, as expected.

More employees - worldwide and at German locations

Analogous to the positive business development, the number of employees also increased throughout the group: On an annual average, the OECHSLER Group employed 3,075 people, 538 more than in the previous year. Of these, 1,536 (previous year: 1,454) were employed at the OECHSLER sites in Ansbach, Weißenburg (OECHSLER AG) and Ansbach-Brodswinden (OECHSLER Motion GmbH), including 84 trainees (previous year: 83). The sales revenues of the two German locations of OECHSLER AG as well as the German location of OECHSLER Motion GmbH increased to 323 million euros in 2018 (previous year: 307 million euros).

Dr Claudius M. Kozlik, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OECHSLER AG, emphasised during the presentation of the annual results: "OECHSLER has grown strongly worldwide in recent years and invested in the development of attractive future fields at an early stage: for example, in the automotive field we have developed products that are predominantly independent of a drive technology. In addition, the dynamically growing SPEEDFACTORY production for our customer adidas confirms that we are consistently seizing opportunities to apply our unique production know-how in high-growth new projects and regions."

Technological excellence as a decisive competitive advantage

Technological innovations and the targeted marketing of existing technical expertise in the form of new applications, processes (e.g. 3D printing) and products are the engine of the OECHSLER Group's growth. In line with this maxim, a disproportionate share of the investment budget flowed into research and development in the reporting year: At 14.6 million euros, R&D investments in 2018 were a good 20 percent above the previous year. Total investments across the Group amounted to 41 million euros, of which slightly more than half went to the three German locations. Research and development will continue to gain in importance in the future: On the one hand, technological change in the automotive industry is changing the needs and demands of manufacturers on suppliers. On the other hand, ever shorter product cycles and increased demands for rapid availability are creating new growth opportunities for the OECHSLER Group as a globally positioned group of companies.

Michael Meyer, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of OECHSLER AG, emphasised: "Our industry is changing rapidly: digitalisation, changing end customer preferences and the growing importance of electromobility bring not only a lot of change for the OECHSLER Group and its employees, but above all great potential for the future. We want to take all employees with us in this process and attract new, highly qualified team members, because technological leadership requires competent and committed personnel."

Prestigious awards confirm leading position

The innovative strength and attractiveness as an employer are confirmed by renowned awards that OECHSLER has received in recent months. For example, OECHSLER received the "ZF Supplier Award" from ZF Friedrichshafen, one of the world's five largest automotive suppliers, in December 2018. This honour was awarded for the technically and commercially successful introduction of new additive manufacturing processes for plastic products, which for the first time are also suitable for series production and not only for prototype production. The 3D printing production technology used by OECHSLER enables ZF, for example, to shorten the development times of complex transmissions and housings and to increase the speed of innovation.

At the beginning of May 2019, OECHSLER received the international "Axia Best Managed Companies Award", with which the auditing and consulting company Deloitte, together with WirtschaftsWoche and the BDI, honour outstandingly managed companies. OECHSLER was honoured in particular for its exemplary positioning in the fields of "culture and commitment", which are crucial for inspiring and retaining talent in the long term in a highly competitive labour market.

OECHSLER Group grows at a slower pace in 2019

Starting in the second half of 2018, demand for cars weakened significantly in key global markets. Trade conflicts, the transition to the WLTP method for measuring fuel consumption and exhaust emissions in Europe, which got out of hand, the "diesel crisis" and consumer uncertainty in the course of the switch to electromobility have left their mark, particularly on the European markets and in China. This is likely to dampen the business performance of OECHSLER's Automotive division beyond the current 2019 fiscal year and will lead to a further decline in the share of consolidated revenue.

At the Group level, this development will be compensated by the dynamic growth of the Innovative Solutions business unit, which will continue to significantly increase its share of Group revenue in 2019 thanks to 3D printing production that is now running at high capacity in Germany and China. Based on an unchanged high equity ratio of just under 50 per cent, investments in research and development will continue to rise in 2019 at the German and international locations of the OECHSLER Group and again exceed the level of the previous year. Overall, the OECHSLER Group will continue to be on a growth course in 2019 in a challenging market environment, although the current fiscal year is expected to close with significantly lower revenue growth compared to 2018.

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