WITTENSTEIN commits itself to its German location - and expands worldwide

Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, President of WITTENSTEIN AG: also President of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the largest industry association in Europe, since October 2007 (PresseBox) ( Igersheim, )
- WITTENSTEIN AG sets yet another sales record in 2007/2008
- Outlook for 2008/2009: WITTENSTEIN looks forward to its 60th anniversary in the coming year

WITTENSTEIN AG, the leading maker of mechatronic drive technology, can look back on yet another successful fiscal year 2007/2008, in which its sales increased eleven percent to a record 164 million euros. The Group's ambitious globalisation project was taken an important step further with its clear commitment to Germany as a production location: in addition to two new subsidiaries in Germany and Spain, WITTENSTEIN also opened a new training centre - the WITTENSTEIN talent arena - at its headquarters in Igersheim-Harthausen (South-West Germany). The most visible signs of this sustained growth are the export rate (55%) and the continuous expansion of the workforce, which meanwhile totals some 1200 people worldwide.

Fiscal year 2007/2008

The global economic climate in general, Germany's overall economic investment behaviour and a further highly encouraging twelve months for the engineering sector in particular were the main factors behind WITTENSTEIN's awesome upward sales curve with efficient solutions in the field of high-quality drive technology. The company's huge potential was further multiplied by expansion in a number of dynamic regions whose economy is fast catching up - notably Asia and parts of Eastern Europe - despite the continuing burden imposed by the euro's unfavourable exchange rate compared to the US dollar and the Japanese yen. The principal growth locomotive was Europe, and above all Germany, where sales revenue was up 14 percent.

New, cutting-edge Business Unit

At the beginning of the last fiscal year, the WITTENSTEIN Group broadened its core competencies with a new, cutting-edge Business Unit: WITTENSTEIN electronics GmbH gives the Igersheim mechatronics specialist crucial access to new markets. Since April 1, 2007 this new subsidiary has been developing products and services for complex mechatronic systems. Its miniaturised, intelligent software and electronic components are also designed to work in extreme environments.

October 2007 saw the opening of WITTENSTEIN AG subsidiaries at two strategically important locations in the Iberian peninsula: Barcelona and San Sebastian. Whereas the Catalonian capital is Spain's leading centre for packaging machines, the Basque country is the cradle of the Spanish toolmaking industry.

On March 1, 2008 Dr. Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, the WITTENSTEIN President's oldest daughter, joined her father's firm. She is responsible for extending and consolidating the Swiss location within the Executive Management of WITTENSTEIN AG.

The newly initiated BA degree course in Sales Engineering at the University of Cooperative Education has continued to gain in popularity. Starting in 2008, this successful model - originally conceived to meet the company's own demand for specialised staff by creating new training professions and adapting them to current business needs - will also be adopted by WITTENSTEIN AG in technical and industrial fields. The foundation for the new profession of "Production Technician" was first laid in the fiscal year 2007/2008. WITTENSTEIN's trainee ratio climbed a further percentage point to thirteen percent - reinforcing the company's position at the top of the industry's training league. New ground was also broken with regard to continuing professional development: Staff can now opt for an equivalent expert career ladder as an alternative to a management ladder.

Back in the winter of 2007, WITTENSTEIN AG won a highly coveted award from the Federal Ministries for Family Affairs and Economics: the "berufundfamilie" (Career and Family) certificate in recognition of its family friendly human resources policy.

Entry into nanotechnology / outlook for 2008/2009

The company's impressive history, spanning almost sixty years during which it has evolved from a small sewing machine manufacturer (established in 1949 by the father of today's President, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein) to a one-stop international supplier of solutions for electromechanical servo drive systems, is set to continue through the current fiscal year 2008/2009: the inauguration of a new production facility in Sibiu, Rumania, this summer, the purchase of additional land at the Grüsch site in Switzerland to facilitate the construction of a new building and the expansion of the existing plant, and the acquisition of a majority share in Munich company attocube systems GmbH (on September 2, 2008) all underline the Group's systematic strategic development of its international sales network and business activities.

Since July 1, 2008 all Business Units of WITTENSTEIN AG worldwide have been managed under the single corporate brand "WITTENSTEIN" - visible documentation of the fact that every single WITTENSTEIN product is the outcome of several decades of experience and development work that today profits all Business Units. Mid-way through 2008, the Group can realistically look forward to a further increase in sales - accompanied by the creation of even more space. Work on the construction of the WITTENSTEIN production arena is scheduled to begin on the company grounds in Harthausen in 2009.

WITTENSTEIN AG worldwide: key performance indicators
- Sales in 2007/2008: 164 million euros (+11%)
- Sales in 2006/2007: 148 million euros (+10.6%)
- Sales in 2005/2006: 133 million euros (+14.8%)
- Export rate: 55%
- Employees worldwide: 1203, of which 1065 in Germany
- Own WITTENSTEIN Academy (founded in 1999)
- Companies: 60 subsidiaries and agents in 40 countries worldwide
- 10% of sales revenue is invested in research and development; 12% of employees are engaged in R&D work
- Trainee ratio: 13%
- Management Board: Dr. Manfred Wittenstein (President), Karl-Heinz Schwarz (Spokesman and Vice President), Klaus Spitzley
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