Dear Business Partners,
Dear Friends of the STIHL Group,
2017 was another record year for the STIHL Group. In numbers: Sales grew by 333 million euros – 9.7 percent – to 3.8 billion euros. Strong growth is also reflected in the number of new employees added in 2017. Group-wide, the workforce expanded by more than 6 percent, meaning that more than 15,800 people now work for the STIHL Group across the globe.
2017 was also a challenging year. But we took advantage of the opportunities and, together, turned them into achievements. For example, we have more than doubled our battery unit sales. This success is based, in part, on an expanded product range, which now covers all segments of the market – from homeowners with small gardens to professional landscapers. Battery products in each segment are available at very attractive prices. In our core gasoline-powered products business, we also posted above-average growth and gained market share, meaning that in many departments we were working at full capacity. Our innovation-driven product strategy is generating sustainable market success. More information about the building blocks that made this another record year can be found on the following pages of this report.
In general, the business climate during the past twelve months was not easy – conditions were turbulent. Politics and economics remain in a state of upheaval, due in large measure to changes in transatlantic and global relations, with consequences for the future of free trade, global value chains and transformation through digitalization.
STIHL is also concerned about this transition, and we cannot escape global changes. However, we benefit from our position in global markets through the distribution and production companies within the Group. We do not see the current megatrend of digitalization as a threat. Rather, we see it as a great opportunity for further growth and as an important factor in further strengthening our competitive position. Change has been a part of our DNA for more than 90 years. From the beginning, our company has always ventured into new territory.
Growth and success bring responsibility – for people, nature and resources. For many years, the topics of environmental protection, energy efficiency and sustainability have been given a very high priority at all STIHL Group locations. Both locally and globally, there are a number of activities aimed at sustainably combining ecological and economic success. This commitment has been recognized by independent groups – for example STIHL Inc. in the U.S. received the “Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award.”
Our employees are the foundation for our continuing success. Their commitment, knowledge and inventiveness are invaluable assets. On behalf of the entire Board, I thank you very much for the outstanding work that you have done. I thank the owners for the trust they have placed in me, and the members of the Employee Council for their constructive cooperation.