2022-12-22 - Hultafors group

Another successful year in a challenging environment

Year-end blog, Martin Knobloch, CEO Hultafors Group

2022 is coming to an end which gives the chance to look back. It’s been a year with a whole range of adverse external factors impacting our operations that kept us busy: supply chain disruptions, strong material price increases, adverse exchange rate effects and an increasing insecurity from the war in Ukraine. Also, we have seen energy costs increase, inflation rise, and interest rates go up. And on top of this we have worked hard on key initiatives in the group to drive innovation, growth and improving operational efficiency. I think it’s fair to say, that 2022 has been an unusually challenging year.

During 2022, our group has grown substantially, and we will end the year with a turnover more than double the size that our group had before the pandemic. This is a fantastic result in a very demanding environment, and I would like to thank all the great people working in our group, for your energy, commitment, and contribution.

We have also continued to grow our brand family, with two fantastic new brands to our group portfolio: the innovator of telescopic ladders Telesteps from Sweden and Martinez Tools, a US-based innovator and market leader in high-end, durable light-weight hammers and squares. With these additions to our offering, we are further strengthening our position to be a reliable and complete partner for the professional users.

Growing our strength through investments in sustainability and IT

Two core initiatives stood on the agenda for the group in 2022: sustainability and IT. Sustainability is one of our most important growth drivers. We can see very strong results from the great sustainability work that’s been done in the group, starting from a strong reduction of CO2 emissions in our operations by nearly 60% since 2019, increasing the share of renewable energy to more than 70% to the launch of sustainable products that are a commercial success. Here I’d like to mention the green ladders from Wibe using 75% less CO2 or the Green Collection from Fristads where each garment comes with an independently certified product declaration that proves the environmental footprint for each garment across its lifetime. Both solutions from Wibe and Fristads reduce emissions and environmental footprint considerably and are a world’s first each of them!

The other major initiative concerned our IT infrastructure as a group. An efficient and modernized setup is a fundamental prerequisite for us to realize our growth and business goals going forward. This together with an organization designed to increase ownership for each division and brands for the whole value creation, this I believe, will strengthen our operations and offerings in so many aspects.

Looking forward into 2023

During 2023, we will set a joint agenda to drive progress on our sustainability journey as an entire company. To set an aligned path forward, we initiated a program driven by the group of sustainability experts from our various entities. With this we will accelerate our progress as a group and stay ahead of our competition as sustainability become an increasingly important part of the purchasing decision of our customers.

Our divisions and all our brands have a strong plan for next year and a clear strategy going forward. It's impressive to see these plans reflected by the commitment and energy that I feel whenever I meet colleagues in our organization. We have a clear positive and strong momentum that I am convinced will pull us forward even if the economic environment might continue to be challenging. I’m convinced that we are well prepared.

With these year-end summary and reflections, I wish all our coworkers, our partners and customers, a happy Holiday Season, and all the best for a healthy and happy New Year!

Martin Knobloch

2022-12-22 - Hultafors group