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Schwan-STABILO – leading the market in its business sectors
24.10.2013 – Schwanhäußer Industrie Holding GmbH & Co. KG
Schwan-STABILO group expands its market positions Heroldsberg, October 2013. The Schwan-STABILO group generated a turnover of 534 million euros in the last financial year (2012/2013), corresponding to a growth of +6.2% (previous year: 503 million euros). Market positions were strengthened across all business sectors.
Overall development
In the financial year 2012/2013 that ended on 30/06/2013, the most significant drivers of growth came from the Cosmetics and Outdoor divisions. However, the Writing Instruments division was also able to expand its European market share and grow in the “Back to School” season 2013. The Group developed its international market position in the Cosmetics sector – particularly for mechanical lip and eye liners – growing by 8.3%. The ORTOVOX brand made significant gains in the Outdoor segment with its functional and stylish clothing collections, while Deuter also continued to assert itself in the European hiking and trekking business.  

Future orientation

To strengthen product/market positions and improve operational performance, the Group carried out numerous activities over the course of the past financial year. The “Stripe up your life” campaign livened up city centres during the “Back to School” season and consolidated STABILO’s position as a brand. Deuter and ORTOVOX optimised their core product ranges with innovations such as merino wool in ski apparel. With its sustainable approach to products and processes, Cosmetics proved its competence among the leading cosmetic manufacturers.  

Management structure
In 2013, Mr Ulrich Griebel left the Schwan-STABILO Group Management Board for personal reasons. Dipl.-Ing. Ms Herta Fischer has been assigned as Managing Director of the Cosmetics division (Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics GmbH & Co. KG).  

High levels of investment continue to be the prerequisite for ensuring the sustainable and continued development of the company. Employees gained motivation for new ideas and working processes when the new Deuter sales and logistics building was completed. Those aspects were also relevant to planning and designing the new STABILO building “CUBE” in Heroldsberg that will be finished in spring 2015. Cosmetics is investing in Heroldsberg first and foremost in product innovations and capacity expansion. Consistent efforts are being made to enhance the Group’s international capabilities, for instance with the new factory building in Mexico.

More employees – especially in Germany
At the moment, the Group employs a workforce of 4,435 employees worldwide. Partly due to the healthy level of capacity utilisation at the production sites, there has been a slight increase in the number of employees in Germany, which now stands at 1,870.   Outlook
“The future success of our Group depends, among other things, on the adaptability of our employees and teams, and their readiness to embrace change,” remarks Managing Director Sebastian Schwanhäußer regarding the business sectors all over the world. Chief Financial Officer, Martin Reim, is relaxed about future finances: “An equity ratio of around 50% forms a solid foundation for our ambitious investment program.”

Cosmetics Division   Continued increase in turnover

Schwan Cosmetics was able to expand its business by a further 8% during the financial year 2012/2013. Turnover increased from 264 million euros to 286 million euros. As it was the case last year, investments for the Cosmetics business amounted to just over 20 million euros, of which almost 12 million euros alone were for the Heroldsberg site. Most of these funds were allocated to developing and marketing new products.

Ready to go with new products
Variations in texture and design generated increased sales in these three key areas: sharpenable pencils, mechanical pencils and liquids. The leader of these product segments was the mechanical segment, with an increase in turnover of 18%. Here, the Precision Matic was reinvented – a product that has been successful for 25 years. By screwing on the cap, the lead is reshaped after each use, thus facilitating precise application every time. Allure magazine named it their test winner! Activities outside of Germany
Still the most important market, North America has experienced a surprising level of growth at 11%. In order to ensure that Schwan Cosmetics continues to perform its role as the world market leader, both USA production sites are being merged into one single high-tech site.

By introducing new manufacturing technologies, improved processes and a streamlined product range, the new factory will be more efficient.

The “Carbon Foot Print” project was initiated for German sites, with the aim of determining the CO2 emissions of the processes carried out at these sites. Determining these emissions means that concepts and measures can subsequently be developed to reduce them. Comprehensive and sustainable work is becoming increasingly important, both in terms of customers’ and suppliers’ requirements, as well as for own processes.

STABILO Division

The STABILO division has enjoyed modest growth (+1.3%). Germany achieved the same level as the previous year in Europe, the region with the largest share of turnover. Successes in Northern Europe contrasted with a significant decline in crisis-stricken Southern Europe (- 9%). For example, France – the most important market apart from Germany – made gains of 2%; Austria grew by 3% and England was even booming at +9%. Business went well in Eastern Europe too, with +4% growth. Development outside of Europe was consistently positive. At the forefront were China and Malaysia, with growth of 8%. Thus far, the strategy of intense involvement in the growth market Asia has proved successful.  

Best in class
A new, modern campaign (“Stripe up your life”) was initiated during the “Back to School” season from April to August, an important period for the sector. The high levels of marketing expenditure for the campaign paid off. Not only did it help maintain the company’s image; it also succeeded in persuading considerably more customers to visit local specialist stores. There was a steep rise in the numbers of Facebook fans from the campaign’s target group, i.e. school pupils and young adults. In Germany alone, almost 54,000 people became new STABILO fans during the course of the campaign. The number of fans of the international STABILO Facebook site increased from 14,800 to 127,900 in the space of 12 months. For Group Managing Director Sebastian Schwanhäußer, these are signs “that show just how much potential there is in our products and our brand!” The campaign is already set for a new staging next year.
Total investment costs of approx. 17 million euros for the new administration and IT building “Cube” in Heroldsberg and a high performance logistics warehouse at the Czech Republic site bode well for the future.

Outdoor Division

The turnover in the Outdoor division rose by 8.9%, increasing from 79 million euros to 86 million euros, thus also making a considerable contribution to the overall success of the Group during this financial year.  

The Deuter brand alone generated turnover at approx. 6% above that of the previous year. Deuter particularly demonstrated strong growth in the sectors Alpine and Family. This growth has been supported by new products in the school backpack and bike sectors – once more an evidence for Deuter´s leadership in technology.

ORTOVOX increased its turnover by approx. 26% compared to the previous year. For the first time ever, ORTOVOX has won the ISPO GOLD AWARD for two of its products. A jury of respected experts selected the new MERINO GUARDIAN SHELL collection and the new “M.A.S.S.” modular avalanche airbag system, to receive this prestigious award.