STIWA Group Invests EUR 57 Million into Upper Austria Sites

STIWA Group Invests EUR 57 Million into Upper Austria Sites

August 6, 2019

STIWA CEOs Peter Sticht and Andreas Leobach­er take a look back at a suc­cess­ful busi­ness year: The fam­i­ly-run com­pa­ny with its head­quar­ters in Attnang-Puch­heim, Aus­tria achieved a turnover of EUR 267 mil­lion for the 2018/2019 finan­cial year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). This con­sti­tutes an increase of 6 per­cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous annu­al turnover of EUR 255 mil­lion. The num­ber of employ­ees jumped up to 2062 (as of June 30, 2019) with 95 per­cent of those employ­ees work­ing in Upper Austria.

  • Machine and Sys­tem Man­u­fac­tur­ing, the Group’s core busi­ness unit at the Attnang-Puch­heim site, remained the strongest con­trib­u­tor to this year’s annu­al turnover at EUR 175.7 mil­lion (66 per­cent of total turnover). The goal is to achieve a 10% increase in turnover in the cur­rent finan­cial year.
  • The sec­ond-largest busi­ness unit, the pro­duc­tion of auto­mo­tive parts at the Gam­pern site, achieved a turnover of EUR 76.3 mil­lion last year. Fol­low­ing on from a record year in 2018, the reper­cus­sions of geopo­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences and uncer­tain­ty along with restraint on the auto­mo­tive mar­ket have result­ed in a drop in the num­ber of pow­er­train orders (dri­ve tech­nol­o­gy). Along­side addi­tion­al auto­mo­tive projects, Sup­pli­er Pro­duc­tion is there­fore focused more on promis­ing prod­uct inno­va­tions, includ­ing some in the non-auto­mo­tive sector.
  • The Man­u­fac­tur­ing Soft­ware busi­ness unit is get­ting ready for the pro­duc­tion demands of the future by devel­op­ing inno­v­a­tive soft­ware prod­ucts (CI Suite) for opti­miz­ing mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing and pro­duc­tion processes.



“We are delight­ed that the 2018/2019 finan­cial year was a suc­cess for the STIWA Group. As the lead­ing spe­cial­ist in the field of prod­uct and high-per­for­mance automa­tion, high demand among our cus­tomers in the field of machine and sys­tem man­u­fac­tur­ing has result­ed in us achiev­ing anoth­er fan­tas­tic result as far as our turnover is con­cerned. And that’s in the face of the seri­ous­ly weak­en­ing eco­nom­ic cli­mate and wors­en­ing uncer­tain­ty on the auto­mo­tive market.”
Peter Sticht, CEO STIWA Hold­ing GmbH


STIWA Invests EUR 57 Million into Upper Austria Sites

Hav­ing seen fur­ther eco­nom­ic growth, the com­pa­ny pushed for­ward with siz­able invest­ments into the Upper Aus­tria sites exceed­ing EUR 57 million.


Work on C Wing of the new, six-sto­ry office build­ing is almost com­plete. The B Wing will also be extend­ed so that it has six sto­ries instead of four. The new office build­ing is sched­uled to be ready in the first quar­ter of 2020, boast­ing more than 600 mod­ern workspaces.
Work to expand the new assem­bly hall and the three-sto­ry office wing in front of it in Attnang-Puch­heim has already been com­plet­ed. The first sys­tems have now been installed in the new hall, with final com­ple­tion sched­uled for the fourth quar­ter of 2019.
High tech­nol­o­gy made in Aus­tria: As far as Sup­pli­er Pro­duc­tion is con­cerned, around EUR 20 mil­lion was invest­ed into a new assem­bly sys­tem for high-per­for­mance automa­tion in Gam­pern in the 2018/19 finan­cial year. This will be used to man­u­fac­ture pre­mi­um series-pro­duced com­po­nents for the auto­mo­tive industry.
Pro­duc­tion 4.0: A new punch press for the pro­duc­tion of gear parts was pur­chased at a price of around EUR 5 mil­lion, with this invest­ment being made in Gam­pern too. The design of the machine ensures that every step in the pro­duc­tion process can be logged and ana­lyzed with trans­paren­cy. STIWA is once again demon­strat­ing its lead­ing posi­tion when it comes to dig­i­tal, net­worked pro­duc­tion processes.

Fur­ther Increase (14%) in Num­ber of Qual­i­fied Employees

Build­ing on resources in Upper Aus­tria is cru­cial to the STIWA Group’s suc­cess. This includes invest­ments in build­ings, sys­tems, tech­nol­o­gy, and qual­i­fied employ­ees. Boost­ing staff num­bers at all sites was a key fac­tor again last year, with a 14% increase being record­ed in 2018/19 com­pared to the 2017/18 finan­cial year. As of 07/01/2019, 2062 peo­ple worked at STIWA in total.

“The huge amount of invest­ment we are pump­ing into our Upper Aus­tria sites shows just how high­ly we val­ue them. The need for ful­ly inte­grat­ed automa­tion solu­tions is on the rise all around the world. As a spe­cial­ist in high-per­for­mance automa­tion that builds sys­tems and uses them in its pro­duc­tion process­es as well as devel­op­ing soft­ware with a view to increas­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, we sup­ply all-in-one solu­tions. We want to hold on to and build upon this position.”

Dr. Andreas Leobach­er, CEO STIWA Hold­ing GmbH



Financial Year Influenced by Geopolitical Tensions and Uncertainty Within the Automotive Sector


Trade Con­flict Puts Glob­al Eco­nom­ic Growth at Risk

The past finan­cial year proved to be chal­leng­ing for many com­pa­nies with­in the auto­mo­tive sec­tor. The trade dis­pute between the USA and Chi­na, includ­ing the threat of tar­iffs of 25% extend­ing to auto­mo­tive imports, has put a major strain on the entire sup­pli­er indus­try. And the tar­iffs aren’t even the biggest prob­lem to wor­ry about. The trade con­flict has caused uncer­tain­ty to arise beyond the auto­mo­tive sec­tor, cur­rent­ly neg­a­tive­ly impact­ing upon the entire glob­al econ­o­my. Accord­ing to the view of one of the world’s lead­ing cred­it insur­ance providers, if the trade con­flict esca­lates fur­ther, the gross world prod­uct will drop by two per­cent­age points over the next two years. The inabil­i­ty to make plans is the main rea­son for loss­es and declines, as can be seen in three dif­fer­ent avenues: Com­pa­ny invest­ments are being put on hold, con­sump­tion is slow­ing, and pur­chas­es are being pushed back. Then add high stock lev­els on top of all that.

“We are most def­i­nite­ly wit­ness­ing these devel­op­ments here at the STIWA Group too. Chi­na is an extreme­ly impor­tant growth mar­ket for us,” says Sticht. “The num­ber of projects we cur­rent­ly have under­way is steady. But we are see­ing the demand for new projects drop fur­ther and fur­ther, espe­cial­ly with­in the auto­mo­tive sec­tor. Agreed projects are being pushed back in that field at the moment. Plus, the time has come for the phase of real pros­per­i­ty and strong growth to come to an end. I would say we can expect anoth­er eco­nom­ic slow­down or a peri­od of normalization.”


Uncer­tain­ty With­in the Auto­mo­tive Indus­try Results in Drop in Sales Globally

Equal­ly, the ongo­ing dis­cus­sions and debates sur­round­ing diesel lim­its, new engine for­mats, emis­sion mea­sure­ment sys­tems and CO2 lim­its for Europe, threats of fines for car man­u­fac­tur­ers, and dri­ving bans are caus­ing a great deal of uncer­tain­ty across the entire auto­mo­tive sector.

As a sup­pli­er of one of the world’s lead­ing car man­u­fac­tur­ers, spe­cial­iz­ing in automa­tion and pro­duc­ing high-per­for­mance assem­bly machines, the auto­mo­tive indus­try has a huge impact on STIWA’s turnover. “We are wit­ness­ing the cur­rent devel­op­ments with­in the auto­mo­tive sec­tor up close and personal—as are all oth­er sup­pli­ers. The uncer­tain­ty pre­vail­ing with­in the auto­mo­tive sec­tor at the moment has had a clear impact on STIWA’s Sup­pli­er Pro­duc­tion busi­ness unit in Gam­pern too over the past finan­cial year: “We have seen a decline in the num­ber of orders for trans­mis­sion com­po­nents. Despite all the issues sur­round­ing the inter­nal com­bus­tion engine, we are see­ing progress in dig­i­tal­iza­tion with­in vehi­cles. New devel­op­ments such as sen­sors for dri­ver assis­tance sys­tems and autonomous dri­ving are of huge sig­nif­i­cance for us right now,” says Sticht.


Future Pro­jec­tions Become More Precarious

It’s still hard to pre­dict what impact all of the debates are going to have dur­ing the cur­rent finan­cial year. “We are stay­ing in close con­tact with our part­ners so that we are in a posi­tion to quick­ly react to changes on the mar­ket through our prod­ucts. The auto­mo­tive indus­try is set to keep on devel­op­ing what­ev­er hap­pens, with a focus on e‑mobility, exhaust gas­es, and cli­mate pro­tec­tion. It is vital that we approach poten­tial trans­for­ma­tion process­es in a calm man­ner, tak­ing all aspects into account and act­ing with the nec­es­sary fore­sight. The EU large­ly fol­lows the lead of the USA and Chi­na here. But it is going to be nec­es­sary for Europe to take a stronger, more inde­pen­dent stance in the future,” says Sticht.


The STIWA Group is responding to changing market conditions

The STIWA Group has built sev­er­al new inter­na­tion­al sites over the last few years. The com­pa­ny fol­lowed its A‑customers into new mar­kets in order to pro­vide local sup­port and to enable mutu­al growth. This strat­e­gy cre­at­ed new jobs in all the busi­ness units, safe­guard­ing the company’s sites in Upper Aus­tria. The STIWA Group is cur­rent­ly run­ning sites in Nan­tong in Chi­na, the USA, and Germany.


Growth Through New Customers

With uncer­tain­ty pre­vail­ing at the moment, the STIWA Group is respond­ing to changes in the mar­ket con­di­tions. “This means that we are also look­ing to gain new part­ners and cus­tomers local­ly at all of our inter­na­tion­al sites,” says Leobacher.
STIWA’s main loca­tion over­seas is Chi­na. Growth may have slowed down there for now, but it still stands at 15–20%. In the 2018/2019 finan­cial year, the num­ber of employ­ees increased from 74 to more than 100. Back in 2017, an inter­nal Machin­ing divi­sion was intro­duced there. Going for­ward, machin­ing parts will no longer only be pro­duced for inter­nal sys­tem man­u­fac­tur­ing. The high demand for high-qual­i­ty pro­duc­tion com­po­nents now means that they will also be pro­duced for the Chi­nese mar­ket. There is no deny­ing that demand is high, with a Ger­man, Scot­tish, and Japan­ese com­pa­ny already hav­ing expressed their inter­est over there.

The STIWA Group has got off to a suc­cess­ful start in Ger­many too. The office in Wilns­dorf (North-Rhine West­phalia) has already seen pos­i­tive results after just two years. We have suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed our first automa­tion project with an inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned man­u­fac­tur­er of writ­ing uten­sils. Our plan now is to add to our pool of local cus­tomers over the com­ing years. STIWA Deutsch­land GmbH intends to devel­op its site as well as its capac­i­ties along the way too.


Part­ner­ships to action inno­v­a­tive new prod­uct ideas

Form­ing new part­ner­ships opens up oppor­tu­ni­ties for new prod­ucts and, in turn, mar­kets. STIWA is cur­rent­ly adding to its prod­uct port­fo­lio by join­ing forces with part­ner com­pa­nies. This arrange­ment sees STIWA work­ing in close con­tact with part­ners so that they can devel­op new prod­ucts togeth­er and ulti­mate­ly bring them to the mar­ket in series pro­duc­tion. What STIWA brings to the table is its exper­tise in the core areas of indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion, prod­uct devel­op­ment, and tran­si­tion to series production.


Positive outlook for the new financial year

The auto­mo­tive sec­tor will con­tin­ue to be huge­ly impor­tant for the STIWA Group going for­ward. As the com­pa­ny con­tin­ues to evolve, the focus will still be on new cus­tomers, part­ner­ships, mar­kets, and prod­ucts. “Our aim here is to posi­tion our­selves even more broad­ly in the future and ensure that we can cope with any uncer­tain­ty with­in the auto­mo­tive sec­tor,” says Leobacher.

Automa­tion tech­nol­o­gy, and the asso­ci­at­ed increase in the speed, flex­i­bil­i­ty, cost-effec­tive­ness, and effi­cien­cy of pro­duc­tion, will con­tin­ue to be the main trend dom­i­nat­ing the indus­try going for­ward and give the com­pa­ny a clear com­pet­i­tive edge. “We are all set for the future and plan to approach the next finan­cial year with opti­mism and the nec­es­sary fore­sight,” says Sticht.


Outlook: 40 years of Apprenticeships at STIWA

The STIWA Group will be cel­e­brat­ing a spe­cial anniver­sary in Sep­tem­ber 2019, as it has been train­ing appren­tices since 1979. For many of these 40 years, the com­pa­ny has been mak­ing use of its very own train­ing cen­ter in Attnang-Puch­heim. This is why the intake of appren­tices at the com­pa­ny has con­tin­ued to rise. This year, over 50 more young peo­ple will enroll on a STIWA appren­tice­ship. As of fall 2018, 170 appren­tices will be under­go­ing train­ing at STIWA. Dur­ing the last finan­cial year, an appren­tice­ship pro­gram based on the Aus­tri­an mod­el was intro­duced in Chi­na too. Anoth­er six appren­tices will be start­ing their train­ing with STIWA in Nan­tong this year—as was the case in fall 2018 too.

In total, the STIWA Group has trained more than 700 young peo­ple up to spe­cial­ist lev­el. Around 60 per­cent of those appren­tices have con­tin­ued work­ing for STIWA—some in man­age­r­i­al roles.

“As one of the major train­ing com­pa­nies in Upper Aus­tria, it is impor­tant to us that we adopt a mod­ern approach to train­ing up appren­tices. With demands in automa­tion con­stant­ly grow­ing, we need spe­cial­ists who have under­gone train­ing at an excep­tion­al­ly high lev­el. Plus, the need for young cre­ative minds who can keep things mov­ing with inno­v­a­tive devel­op­ments in automa­tion tech­nol­o­gy is con­stant­ly reach­ing an all-time high. The key here is to train up high­ly qual­i­fied spe­cial­ists. We are proud to have made a cru­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment of our indus­tri­al cen­ter by train­ing up appren­tices over the past 40 years,” says Sticht.

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