Staying Up-to-Date: Wienerberger’s Newsroom
You can find everything you need to know about the Wienerberger Group in our newsroom – ranging from press releases to news about the company, to photos and videos.
Wienerberger invests in concrete paver businessStrengthening business in Eastern European growth markets
Gold for the Wienerberger Annual ReportThe new Wienerberger Annual Report has once again been voted Best of the Best.
Clear commitment to growth in Romanian marketWienerberger withdraws its takeover bid for Romanian brick producer Brikston
FAQs about the Wienerberger Group
2017 was a great year for the construction industry. How did the Wienerberger Group perform?
2017 was a successful year for Wienerberger with various important milestones: We generated over 3.1 billion Euros, setting a new record turnover – the highest in our company’s history. For the fifth time in a row, we increased our EBITDA and reached 415 million Euros. This shows that our current process of optimising the company is proving successful. Ultimately, this has led to a significantly higher net profit: at 123 million Euros, this hit a 10-year high. Our strong balance sheet is the foundation for further growth - with this, we can invest in high-margin companies and profitable business sectors.
Wienerberger accelerated its growth strategy in 2017 and took over a number of businesses in Europe and North America. What does the future hold?
We are aiming for a clear goal: we will sustainably improve the value of our business where environmental, social and economic factors are concerned. As such, we will continue on this course of growth and exploit our growth potential optimally in our core markets. Additionally, in the Wienerberger Strategy we set out three key points: organic growth, operational excellence and growth projects and optimising our portfolio.
We build on Wienerberger’s strong industrial foundation and are continually developing new products, services and solutions. As a result, we are embracing innovation, market proximity and digitalisation. Through our internal Operational Excellence Programme, we can sustainably save on costs – in 2018 alone we will save about 15 million Euros. On top of that, we invest in growth projects in established markets and distance ourselves from non-strategic business sectors.
How did the Wienerberger Group’s business develop in the European and North American core markets during 2017?
2017 was an outstanding year for the Wienerberger Group: we were able to increase the revenue of all our business domains. You can find an overview of the development in specific divisions here:
Strong growth in the brick industry of Eastern Europe
In 2017, residential construction activity rose slightly in Europe. As such, business in the field of “Clay Building Materials Europe” developed well. Wienerberger increased sales of facing bricks as well as clay blocks and roof tiles. In total, sales grew by 7% and the EBITDA by 12%. Takeovers of brick manufacturers in Austria, Germany and Romania also strengthened our position on the market.
We recorded significant gains in Eastern Europe. We also benefited from favourable construction activity in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In contrast, the market situation in Belgium and Germany remained challenging. On the one hand, there was very little insulation material on the Belgian market which delayed construction work. On the other hand, construction of detached and semi-detached homes in Germany was in decline and the renovation sector stagnated. For 2018, we predict a slight growth in European residential construction again and positive market conditions in Eastern Europe should remain.
Healthy demand in the infrastructure business
In the infrastructure sector, the Wienerberger Group saw stable demand in most markets throughout 2017. Trade in the “Pipes & Pavers” sector developed favourably in Eastern Europe, the Nordic markets, the Netherlands and Ireland. Among other things, public tenders for infrastructure projects in Eastern Europe have increased.
In contrast, the situation in Western Europe has remained difficult. We were able to develop our position in prewired pipes by taking over a Belgian pipe specialist. In contrast, international project trade in special pipes recorded few incoming orders for industrial projects, as well as for the oil and gas industries. In addition, there were continued challenging market conditions in France with limited demand and significant pressure on price. In 2017, sales grew organically by 2% and the EBITDA decreased by 17%. In 2018, we predict a slight market growth in Western Europe, as well as a significant increase in demand in Eastern Europe.
Favourable development in North America
Trade in brick and plastic piping in the North America business area (USA and Canada) developed favourably in 2017. Increased demand led to growth in all business sectors. In total, Wienerberger’s sales grew organically by 10% and the EBITDA by 65%.
In the brick industry, we benefited from increased demand for detached and semi-detached houses. This demand was only temporarily reduced after tropical storms hit the Southern and Eastern states of the USA. By taking over a facing bricks manufacturer, we were able to tap into the market in Mississippi and Louisiana - two states that make great use of brick in their façades.
Wienerberger supplies building materials and infrastructure solutions in 30 countries across the globe. Through its exports, the company is also involved in many more markets worldwide. How important is the Austrian market?
Wienerberger has always had close ties to Austria. The company’s origins can be traced back to the beginning of the 19th century: back then, the first brick construction sites were emerging in Wienerberg in the South of Vienna. Though Wienerberger was a solely Austrian brick manufacturer for a long time, it has grown in recent decades to be an international construction materials corporation.
Even now, Austria is our local market. Wienerberger AG’s headquarters are in Vienna. From here, we plan the strategic direction of the Wienerberger Group and manage trade in our international markets.
The building materials industry is going through a time of change – the current trend is towards smart system solutions and services. How important are innovation and digitalisation for Wienerberger?
Wienerberger’s mission is to improve people’s quality of life. In order to do this, we are developing sustainable building systems, safe supply networks and high-quality pavements. We are using the change in our sector as an opportunity to help shape the future and tap into new business domains.
As a Technology and Innovations Leader, we work on client-oriented applications: Apps for visualising ideas facilitate decisions about design. We simplify building design with web shops for distributors, as well as digital planning and tendering software. Wienerberger continues to be an important pioneer in the industry, promoting initiatives for Industry 4.0. In research and development projects, we are testing new digital technologies for functionality and added value. The focus is on virtual assistance and self-learning systems for maintaining machines and equipment.
Innovation plays a key role in all of these areas: Wienerberger’s innovation rate is 27%. That means we generate more than a quarter of our sales with products brought onto the market in the last five years. Every year, we invest tens of millions in research and development.
Energy efficient, flexible and affordable: aspirations for the homes of the future have never been higher. What innovative solutions can Wienerberger offer for the cities of tomorrow and how is the company helping to shape Smart Cities?
Cities are the homes of the future: major global trends, like urbanisation and migration, increase the demand on flats and office spaces. Freak weather because of climate change and the increasing demand for energy-efficient buildings present the construction materials sector with new challenges. Wienerberger is therefore even more dedicated than ever to urban constructions and is bringing its expertise to the Smart Cities of tomorrow.
Interconnected building planning, sustainable systems and innovative solutions
We are making use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation - for example in interconnected building planning with Building Information Modelling (BIM). With our efficient, durable and recyclable construction materials, we are shaping sustainable building systems. Our infrastructure solutions are also essential foundations for the cities of tomorrow. As such, we are developing innovative system solutions in the sectors of water and sewage as well as building and electrical installations, alongside our clients and partners - including project developers, architects, planners and expert builders.
Two ground-breaking Wienerberger projects
One example is the brick high-rise “The Brick”. This building – Wienerberger’s future corporate head office – will be the first building in the planned “Biotope City” - Vienna’s most recent urban development project in the 10th district. This distinctive building will be energy-efficient and will have a green façade. Completion of the project is predicted for 2020. Going forward, approximately 900 flats, offices, retail spaces and educational institutions are planned on this site.
There is another showcase project in the 22nd district of Vienna started in the middle of 2017. Construction site D22, in Seestadt Aspern is the first multi-storey residential project in Austria built entirely using continuous mineral and single-shell brick masonry. The most recent generation of bricks was used to build it - thermally insulated porotherm W.I. flat brick. This structural engineering solution combines economical and sound construction and is a good example of new ways of carrying out urban residential construction.
The Wienerberger story
In 1819, Wienerberger was born. Since then, we have been shaping the future with innovative products and processes. Any good examples? In 1860, we installed the first round kiln; in the 1990s we established the plane brick; and, after the turn of the millennium, we simplified bricklaying with our Dryfix adhesive system.
Today, our vision is to be the most prestigious building materials and infrastructure solutions manufacturer and the employer of choice in our markets. We are a market leader in Smart Solutions and a pioneer of digitalisation. Learn more about Wienerberger’s success story.