Künzelsau, Germany-based Würth Group, one of the world’s largest industrial distributors, shared its preliminary 2019 financial figures in a Jan. 22 press release, showing that the company achieved solid growth last year.
The figures showed that Würth Group had total 2019 sales of $15.5 billion, up 4.8 percent from 2018. Adjusted for currency exchange impacts, 2019 sales growth was 4.2 percent.
Würth noted that sales “developed in an unusually heterogeneous way in 2019,” reflected in the different development of both the individual regions and individual business units of the group. In Germany, sales grew a modest 2.1 percent, which the company attributes to a struggling automotive industry.
“The development of business units such as the Würth Elektronik Group or manufacturing and tool trading companies, all serving to customers in this industry, was affected as a result,” Würth said. “These units reported declining sales in 2019. Contrary to that, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, parent company of the Würth Group and German sales organization of the Würth Line, was able to report growth of 5.8 percent.”
Outside of Germany, Würth Group had 2019 sales growth of 6.8 percent, led by 15.3 percent growth in Southern Europe (4.9 percent adjusted for acquisitions), 8.0 percent growth in South America and 6.6 percent growth in Eastern Europe.
Würth had 2019 operating profit of $814 million, down 13.8 percent from 2018, which the company attributed to gross profit margins “being under pressure.”
“It was not possible to entirely pass on increased purchasing prices to customers in the market,” Würth noted.
The company said e-commerce sales had above average growth and totaled $2.8 billion in 2019, representing 18.3 percent of total group sales. Meanwhile, Würth Group’s total headcount rose by 1,606 in 2019 to a total of 78,686 at the end of the year.
Würth Group is the parent company of Ramsey, NJ-based Würth Industry North America (WINA) — which was No. 13 on Industrial Distribution’s 2019 Big 50 List with $2.15 billion in 2018 sales. Würth Group didn’t break out WINA’s 2019 sales in its January press release. Würth Group was formerly No. 1 on the 2017 Big 50 List before ID adjusted its methodology in 2018 to reflect only North American-based companies.
Würth Group operates from two business units: Würth Line, which focuses on assembly and fastening materials, and Allied Companies, which operate as trade or production businesses in related business areas.