23. March 2018 | Company
- Group sales up to € 1,184.8 million (plus 2.7 per cent)
- Operating profit (EBIT) climbs to € 77.5 million
- Share of international business: 26.4 per cent
- Number of employees: 10,539 (plus 367)
Hannover/Essen/Hamburg: In the 2017 reporting period, the TÜV NORD GROUP once again recorded profitable growth. Revenue increased to € 1,184.8 million, operating profit to € 77.5 million. “The digital transformation of every area of business and private life is making new demands on our company. The share of digital services is growing steadily. For us it’s crucial that the digitalised world should be as safe as the analogue world we’re all familiar with,” said Dirk Stenkamp, Chairman of the Board of Management, at the annual press conference in Hanover, Germany. CFO Jürgen Himmelsbach stressed that the company is financially solid and is using the flexibility this affords to invest in digital services and innovations.
Top of the growth list in 2017 was the Mobility business unit, which significantly increased its sales. (€ 366.2 million; 2016: € 333.4 million). A critical factor in this success was the expansion of the market for the testing and valuation of vehicles into southern Germany.
The Industrial Services business unit returned positive sales growth (€ 551.5 million; 2016: € 538.1 million). In addition to international growth, the nuclear engineering division secured some significant nationwide orders for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
The Natural Resources business unit maintained its market position in the challenging commodities sector. Profit from orders rose significantly in the second half of the year, and several postponed major seismology projects are on the cusp of implementation. This business unit will in the future also increasingly offer engineering services.
The Training business unit reported stable revenue development. In addition to the successful TÜV NORD Akademie, the business unit is pushing ahead with its forward-looking programme for the geriatric care of tomorrow, “Altenpflegeausbildung 4.0”.
Figures for 2017 also showed that the Aerospace business unit is on a stable course. The focus of its innovative work is on a Big-Data-supported search engine for satellite components.
The IT business unit can look back on significant growth. This primarily revolved around testing and security services for data centres and IT products and IT processes, along with the certification of Cloud providers.
CFO Jürgen Himmelsbach was satisfied with the Group’s results in the year under review: For instance, the return on sales, based on EBIT, increased to 6.5% (2013: 4.1%). All the business units contributed to the good annual result. As Himmelsbach emphasised, classical and digital testing services are converging ever more markedly. “We need to make targeted investments in the future. In 2017 we invested € 50 million. We want to maintain this financial strategy, with investments for the future in our employees, digital testing technology and new laboratories,” said Himmelsbach.
A further boost to international activities
The international subsidiaries have contributed to the good overall result. Sales outside Germany rose from € 309.7 to € 312.6 million, achieving a share of 26.4 percent of the total revenue. TÜV NORD made particular advances in China and India. On 1 February 2018, TÜV Nederland took over a range of inspection activities from Vinçotte Nederland.
“We’re driving a whole raft of technological developments from international regions, such as photovoltaics and food safety,” said Dirk Stenkamp. “This is a result of our customer-focused internationalisation strategy.”
Digital innovations in the market
All the business units have brought innovative customer solutions onto the market. In the automotive sector, for instance, over 2.5 million vehicles were tested using the digital periodic vehicle testing adapter. 30,000 lift inspections were carried out with the digital support of the app Mobis. The app was developed in-house and is continuously being adapted to customer needs. “Industrial robots, self-driving cars and electricity and water utilities need to be protected from cyber-criminals,” said Dirk Stenkamp emphatically.
At TÜV NORD we’re already investigating the question of whether self-learning robots are still safe, even after ten years in operation. Aside from Artificial Intelligence, our knowledge is also sought after for many other technologies.” For example, TÜViT has carried out technical tests of two language assistance systems on behalf of the consumer association with regard to data protection, data saving and data security. TÜV NORD Greater China is supporting the Chinese energy sector in its use of blockchain technology. With the acquisition of m. dudde hochfrequenztechnik, TÜV NORD has expanded its portfolio in telecommunications with a view to using the new 5G wireless standard as a future carrier medium for Industry 4.0 and self-networking in the Internet of Things.
“We’re coming across security vulnerabilities in digital products more and more frequently. High-profile cyber-attacks such as WannaCry and Petya are stark examples of this,” said Stenkamp. “Neutral tests are necessary to bring about effective improvements in digital security. We’re calling for an IT quality seal, from which both companies and consumers will benefit. Without IT security there can be no product safety. The TÜV NORD GROUP has a role to play here.”
Digital Academy: Qualification programme for employees successfully launched
With the Digital Academy, the TÜV NORD GROUP 2017 has set its own course for the communication of new, digital skills to its staff. “The Digital Academy is a qualification programme designed to bring all the staff into the digitally networked age,” said Human Resources Director Harald Reutter. “We’re training digital experts to digitalise existing services and to act as motivators in their business units.” As a next step, the programme is to be opened up to customers via the TÜV NORD Akademie.
Employee survey shows a high level of identification with the TÜV NORD GROUP
In a parallel development to the positive economic trend, the number of employees rose in 2017. At the end of 2017, 10,539 members of staff were working in the TÜV NORD GROUP, an increase of 367 on the previous year.
“We are in the midst of the digital transformation. We have accordingly developed a new mission statement for the entire Group,” said Harald Reutter. Its central tenets are customer focus, safety, security and innovation. “We’ve placed our staff at the heart of the mission statement. With their knowledge, we will be able to shape and safeguard the future of digitalisation. Our employees are the key to our success.”
A survey conducted in November/December 2017 reveals a positive mood. 83 percent of participating employees reported enjoying their work in the TÜV NORD GROUP. Harald Reutter: “We’ve made significant progress since the first survey carried out back in 2014. Particularly highly rated were the working climate, the self-motivation of the staff and collaboration in the workplace. Potential for improvement is currently being discussed in the teams and realised. The results underscore the fact that the TÜV NORD GROUP is a very attractive employer.”