KÜNZELSAU, Germany, 31 March 2022: Ziehl-Abegg reported record sales of 716 million euros in 2021, compared to 639 million euros in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, the manufacturer of electric motors and fans said the figure posted in 2021 represented a growth of 11.9%.
Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, describing 2021, said, “In view of the problems with global supply chains, we took a cautious approach at times and, ultimately, managed to do pretty well in terms of sales.” The company said it was equally heartening that the number of employees worldwide rose to 4,700, compared to 4,300 in 2020.
Fenkl described the earnings situation as “more than difficult”, as the supply chain problems not only had an impact on delivery times but on pricing, as well. “Some suppliers had already increased prices so quickly towards the end of 2020 and then repeatedly in 2021 that we were unable to pass these on to the market on a 1:1 basis,” he said.
Based on the experience in the first quarter, the manager knows that this situation will become more acute in the current year. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Fenkl said. It is relevant to highlight that Fenkl has been at the helm of the family-owned business for more than 20 years.
Ziehl-Abegg said it is regarded as a company with a high level of vertical integration. “We now want to expand this even further,” Fenkl said. However, growth at the headquarters in Hohenlohe is problematical, as there is a serious shortage in the availability of the necessary additional workers there, the company said. The intention, therefore, is to expand existing production facilities and establish new production sites, it added. Fenkl said: “Additional production sites will bring us closer to our customers.”
The company said the 11.9% growth in sales last year provides a good base for further growth. Ventilation systems were the sales driver in the year just past, contributing EUR 637 million to the overall result, the company said. Fenkl said he held no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead. “Work shifts are currently being repeatedly cancelled because of a lack of components – how can you realistically plan and how are you supposed to satisfy your customers?” he said.
Ziehl-Abegg employs 2,600 people in Germany, 200 more than a year ago. The number of employees worldwide rose from 4,300 to 4,700. Since employees of the baby boom era in Germany are now increasingly reaching retirement age, this is having a direct impact on the available workforce potential. “Companies must, therefore, openly target Generation Z, the post-millennials,” Fenkl said. “We mustn’t persist with old ways of thinking but instead take the wishes and needs of young people seriously.”