HARTING Technology Group holds its own in anniversary year

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Sales revenues up slightly by 1.2 % to € 759 million / Supply chain maintained / Customer communication expanded / Festive ceremony in September with former German Presidents Gauck and Wulff / 205 new jobs created worldwide

The HARTING Technology Group, based in Espelkamp, held its own in the 2019/20 (September 30) business year despite the corona pandemic and the associated global economic plunge. Sales at the internationally active, family-owned company were up slightly by 1.2 % to € 759 million (previous year: € 750 million).

“We stood up to the global corona pandemic. We are satisfied with the result,” stated CEO Philip Harting. As the COVID-19 situation continues to determine economic and social life, the CEO expects a challenging fiscal year 2020/21 for the Technology Group.

Diverging developments in the regions

The regions in which HARTING is active worldwide developed differently in the 2019/20 financial year. Sales in Europe (excluding Germany) the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, remained stable at € 278 million (previous year: 278 million). In the Asia region, HARTING sales rose vigorously by 9 % to € 202 million (previous year: EUR 186 million). Growth in the Americas region was even more pronounced, recording a 15% increase to € 82 million (previous year: 72 million). In Germany, sales were down by 8% to € 197 million (previous year: 214 million).

A total of 205 new jobs created worldwide

The number of employees (including trainees) rose to 5,473 during the 2019/20 financial year (previous year 5,268). This corresponds to an increase of 3.9% or 205 jobs. In Germany, nine positions were not filled again (- 0.3%), while 214 employees were hired at other production facilities and subsidiaries (+ 8.0%). Consequently, a total of 2,604 people were employed in Germany and 2,869 people were employed across the globe on September 30, 2020. Growth in the Americas and Asia is reflected in these figures.

Rapid and flexible response to the pandemic

Right from the outset, the Technology Group reacted quickly and flexibly to the ensuing pandemic. From the very beginning, the protection of employees as well as the supply of customers took top priority. This includes supplying well-known manufacturers of medical and respiratory equipment with customer-specific cable assemblies. “We are and remain a reliable partner,” as Philip Harting emphasised.

This applies to customer and market communication, which was duly converted and expanded to digital formats. Since spring, events and web seminars have been held in a dedicated studio and streamed to customers, distributors and media worldwide. “Since we are globally networked, we can react very quickly to changing conditions – and we are close to our customers,” emphasised Philip Harting. Based on this new form of communication, HARTING is positioning itself for the future, as the CEO underlined.

The Technology Group will closely monitor the further course of the pandemic. A corona pandemic team evaluates the developments daily and recommends or takes measures, as Dr. Michael Pütz, member of the Board of Management responsible for Human Resources, highlighted. For example, he mentioned the free corona tests in certain clinics in the Minden-Lübbecke district or the free mouth-nose masks for employees. “The extended home office working in cooperation with IT also worked very well and is being very well accepted by our employees”, said Dr. Pütz.

Focus on future topics DC industry, Single Pair Ethernet and E-Mobility

The HARTING Technology Group has clearly recognised the future topics of Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), DC industry and e-mobility and is driving them forward at full speed. HARTING coined the term Connectivity+ in summarising these three topics.

HARTING is focusing on the topic of DC infrastructure and is working on the next revolution in industrial power supply in the DC industry research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. Enormous energy costs can be saved by opting for direct current and HARTING is developing the appropriate connectivity for this purpose. Extensive areas of renewable energies and also storage technology are DC dominated. In conjunction with energy recovery measures, the growth in renewables is leading to an overall decrease in energy consumption from the AC grid. Industrial companies harnessing DC generation are saving on energy costs and contributing to meeting CO2 emission targets. At present, around 40 industrial companies are involved in the DC-INDUSTRY joint project. “Central requirements for future interfaces will be derived from the work in the joint project,” emphasised Dr. Kurt D. Bettenhausen, Board Member for New Technologies and Development. This is an approach that creates added value for customers.

HARTING has also continued to push forward with e-mobility: As a pioneer for reliable, clean and environmentally friendly e-mobility, HARTING offers tailor-made solutions and components for all relevant markets, as well as developing and producing charging equipment for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The HARTING Technology Group provides charging solutions for Volkswagen’s modular e-drive system (MEB), the Audi e-tron and the Porsche Taycan. HARTING also offers a wide range of connectivity solutions in the periphery, i.e. decentralised energy storage for mobile applications, which contribute to the sustainable, CO2-reduced mobility of the future.

Further advances are also being made with IIoT and the associated Ethernet connectivity topics. HARTING recognised developments in this area at an early stage and created connectors for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) that set new standards. Partnership is a top priority here: HARTING is cooperating with the SPE Industrial Partner Network for a universal SPE Eco-System and creating the powerful infrastructure for the digitalisation of industry. SPE brings cloud data down to the field and application level and back again.

Renewed high investment volume

In the financial year just gone, the HARTING Technology Group were once again committed to considerable investments. “With a total of around € 65 million, we have almost reached the record volume of the previous year,” as Maresa Harting-Hertz, Chief Financial Officer, responsible for Finance, Purchasing and Facility Management, underlined. In the 2018/19 financial year, capital expenditure reached a record level of € 66 million.

In the 2019/20 business year a large share of the investments were funnelled into the digitalisation of production at the subsidiary HARTING Electric in Espelkamp. In Romania, capacities were expanded in Agnita for Automotive, while the Connectivity & Networks area was extended in Sibiu. The plant in the USA (Elgin) has now also expanded production facilities in order to supply markets and customers faster. “We are now even more flexibly positioned worldwide to better factor in and respond to regional needs. With these investments we are clearly staying on course for growth,” emphasised Andreas Conrad, Chief Operations Officer.

75 years of HARTING: Festive ceremony in the Botta building in Minden

Our anniversary marked this year’s highlight: The Technology Group celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 1 in the Botta Building in Minden with unique, festive ceremony in the presence of former Federal Presidents Dr. Joachim Gauck and Christian Wulff. Guests from business, politics and administration had accepted the invitation of the Harting family, the owners of the company. Philip Harting emphasised that the company would have liked to have celebrated this highlight even more elaborately together with customers and employees in order to thank them for the long-standing partnership and support – but Corona had not allowed this to happen.

“Creating Values for People”: Sustainability and climate protection

“We want to create values for people” is the third part of the corporate vision formulated in 1996. The entrepreneurial family has always felt particularly committed to social responsibility – and lives up to their commitment. The company has been working for a good four decades to reconcile ecology and economy and had introduced an internal environmental award as early as 1989. In addition, the Technology Group consistently focused on the energy transition and is a founding member of the Association of Climate Protection Companies.

Since 2012, HARTING has been harnessing 100 percent CO2-free energy in the manufacturing area. The construction of two biomethane-fuelled cogeneration plants for plants 2 and 9 in Espelkamp represents additional steps taken to reduce the CO2 footprint. This will further improve our energy balance and efficiency. “Sustainability and climate protection are the DNA of HARTING; we are consistently sustainable by conviction,” as Philip Harting underscored.

Restrained outlook

Philip Harting was cautious about further developments of the current 2020/21 financial year. In view of the COVID-19 situation, the prospects have clouded. The business climate is very much dependent on the further global development of the pandemic and how quickly vaccinations will reach large sections of the population. “As a result, global demand varies from region to region. We will continue to navigate by sight,” says Philip Harting. Nevertheless, he believes that moderate sales gains in the low single-digit range are possible. “We have convincing products, customer-oriented positioning and a first-class team – so we can do it.”