Daccording to Würth boss Robert Friedmann, the industry’s attempts to save gas are also failing due to delivery problems. Würth is converting furnaces that harden the material of screws from gas to electricity. “But the required components have a delivery time of twelve months,” Friedmann told the FAZ. “We’re getting away from gas. But nothing happens quickly,” said the manager, who has been leading the group from Künzelsau in northern Baden-Württemberg for 17 years.
For its own brand screws alone, Würth currently has three gas and four electric furnaces that harden the screws at up to 900 degrees Celsius. The gas-powered ones consumed a total of 12 million kilowatt hours a year, about as much as 1,000 households with 80 square meters of living space. Friedmann agreed with demands that households should not necessarily be prioritized in the gas allocation. “It’s no use if households are warm but system-critical companies can no longer ensure the supply.”
“Recipe for a Perfect Storm”
The conversion seems financially manageable. This costs more than one million euros per oven, said Friedmann. The amount of energy required for operation is the same. However, a kilowatt hour of electricity is currently three times as expensive for Würth as a kilowatt hour of gas.
In view of the growth figures that Würth presented on Thursday, the amounts are hardly significant. Currency-adjusted sales increased by 17 percent to EUR 9.9 billion in the first half of the year. The operating result was 720 million euros, 200 million more than in the same period last year.
After the “record year” in 2021, “another historical result was delivered,” said Friedmann. He even spoke of overheating, which is now slowly cooling down. For the year as a whole, he expects sales growth of 13 to 15 percent.
The supply chain situation is easing, the biggest challenge is passing on the sharply increased costs. He also sees the “recipe for a perfect storm” in the economy.