“We are consistently pursuing our course”
On course for further growth. Wienerberger now aims to realize the potential for optimization within the company. CEO Heimo Scheuch talks about the strategic road map.
Mr. Scheuch, last year the Wienerberger Group generated the highest revenues in the history of the company. The first half of 2018 also closed with positive results. How satisfied are you with the company’s current performance?
Heimo Scheuch: Wienerberger’s operational performance is extremely satisfactory. The continuous growth of the Wienerberger Group confirms the success of our determined efforts to implement our corporate strategy. This is also reflected in the development of the Wienerberger share price: With a closing price of € 24 at the end of August, we reached a ten-year high.
You said last year that you intended to accelerate the pace of growth.
Scheuch: Our growth orientation is already bearing fruit. We succeeded in further increasing the profitability of the Wienerberger Group in the first half of 2018 and generated significant organic growth in earnings in all Divisions. Growth rates are particularly high in our Central and Eastern European markets, both in residential construction and in infrastructure. I am confident that we are going to reach our targets for 2018. This is why we decided to narrow down the range for our adjusted EBITDA target to € 460 to 470 million, as compared to the previous range of € 450 to 470 million.
We succeeded in further increasing the profitability of the Wienerberger Group in the first half of 2018 and generated significant organic growth in earnings in all Divisions.
It is part of your strategy to take optimization measures that are not directly dependent on the market environment. What do you expect to achieve?
Scheuch: Operational Excellence is a central pillar of the Wienerberger strategy. By 2020, we hope to increase our operating result by € 120 million, as compared to 2017. In order to ensure the attainment of our targets and to transparently communicate our progress, we initiated the Fast Forward 2020 program. We are intensifying our efforts and continuously improving our processes, which enhances efficiency in production and strengthens our organizational structures. Take the Manufacturing Excellence initiative as an example, which enables us to sustainably improve our cost structures and leads to efficiency gains.
Wienerberger took over a number of companies in 2017 and 2018. Will acquisitions continue to play an important role in the Group’s growth strategy?
Scheuch: We can still see attractive opportunities in acquisitions for the Wienerberger Group. We have earmarked about €200 million for growth projects in 2018. By integrating promising companies we are entering into new areas of business with growth perspectives and attractive margins. We are thus extending our geographic market coverage and broadening the range of innovative solutions.
We can still see attractive opportunities in acquisitions for the Wienerberger Group. We have earmarked about € 200 million for growth projects in 2018.
You frequently go on roadshows in Wienerberger’s most important core markets. What kind of feedback do you get from investors?
Scheuch: In recent weeks, we met a large number of investors in the most important financial centers of Europe and North America. We had interesting conversations and got very positive feedback. Investors primarily appreciate the fact that we are stepping up our efforts to increase EBITDA and to realize the potential for optimization within the company. The confidence of our investors motivates us to consistently implement our strategy.