Ladies and gentlemen,
Growth is a mutual relationship. It does not just happen by itself. It grows from the shared responsibility that people assume in their commitment to collectively defined goals. Each and every one of our 77,000 employees worldwide accepts this consensus on a daily basis in order to continue advancing the development of our products and services by contributing their special skills and knowledge. We can count on that. And for this we are grateful.
We understand growth as synergy. Not in the interest of any one individual, but in the interest of partnership with our customers and as part of the mutual responsibility between business and society, in order to keep the soil fertile for everyone’s prosperity. This creates solid relationships, which in turn generate confidence in healthy growth on the basis of reliability and predictability— even extending into future generations. This is how we shape the future and what makes growth fun. During the 2018 fiscal year, the Würth Group generated sales of EUR 13.6 billion and an operating result of EUR 870 million. We would like to continue to grow in this direction—with our employees, with our customers, with you.
Work of the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board of the Würth Group held four extensive meetings in 2018. These meetings were all based on the reports from the Central Managing Board members covering the business situation, projections, and opportunity and risk management. All transactions subject to approval pursuant to the company statutes were submitted to the Advisory Board for approval in good time and considered at length; in urgent cases, resolutions were passed by circular.
In 2018, the work of the Advisory Board was characterized to a considerable degree by the strategic developments within the Würth Group and by the provision of advice to the Central Managing Board on these strategic matters. One of the four meetings was a separate strategy meeting for the Advisory Board together with the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group. The Advisory Board also addressed issues related to digitalization in detail.
The Advisory Board has set up three committees: a Personnel, Audit and Investment Committee. The Investment Committee met four times in 2018, while the other committees met three times each. These meetings serve to increase the efficiency of the Advisory Board, carrying out preparatory work on complex issues. The committee chairs each report regularly and in depth to the Advisory Board as a whole about the work of the committees.
On 9 April 2019, the Advisory Board’s Audit Committee took an extensive look at the 2018 consolidated financial statements, including the Group management report, as well as the audit report prepared by Ernst & Young, in which an unqualified opinion was issued. The Audit Committee examined these documents and approved them. The Audit Committee’s work in 2018 also focused on the compliance and risk management systems and the impact of legal developments on future audits of the annual financial statements.
The Advisory Board’s Investment Committee assessed the investment projects that are subject to approval and classified them according to urgency and significance. In addition, the Committee dealt in greater depth with investment controlling, in particular with a review of major investments made and selected acquisitions. The Würth Group will remain true to its investment culture as a prerequisite for the company’s growth. The Advisory Board approved the investment and financial plan of the Würth Group for the 2019 fiscal year at its meeting on 14 December 2018 based on the proposal submitted by the Investment Committee.
The Advisory Board’s Personnel Committee dealt with all personnel measures falling within the Advisory Board’s area of responsibility at its meetings. The Committee focused on HR development and succession planning for managers, as well as on the structure of the company’s incentive and remuneration systems. The Personnel Committee has the power to pass resolutions regarding employment contracts and management remuneration.
The Advisory Board of the Würth Group would like to thank the Central Managing Board and the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts for the good working relationship, especially Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold Würth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts. The Würth Group enjoyed a successful 2018 fiscal year. For this reason, we would particularly like to thank all employees for their strong commitment and drive, as well as all our customers and business partners for their loyalty to the Würth Group.