Tuttlingen-based Aesculap, a division of B. Braun Melsungen AG, posted record growth in 2010 and now plans to invest and recruit new staff.
Aesculap, a provider of devices and services for surgical and interventional procedures in operative medicine, achieved record sales in 2010. Sales rose to 1.28 billion euros (+ 11%), hot on the heels of a sales growth of 5 per cent during the global financial crisis in 2009. This growth in sales meant that Aesculap generated around 30 per cent of the B. Braun Group’s overall sales volume. Speaking at a recent press conference in Tuttlingen, Hanns-Peter Knaebel, chairman of the Aesculap AG management board, pointed out that the company’s contribution to the Group earnings even exceeded its contribution to overall Group sales. He emphasised the fact that these figures were achieved against a background of limited improvement in the medical technology market.Financial difficulties have led to many countries cutting back on healthcare costs, which in turn has placed a major burden on the medical technology industry. In addition, the payment behaviour of many countries seems to be deteriorating. Knaebel reported that Italian clients tend to pay up to 12 months after product or service delivery and the average Turkish client takes 730 days to pay for their purchase. “We are forced to prefinance our services, and this is not an easy task,” said Knaebel, emphasising nevertheless that Aesculap is in a good financial state of health with a large stock of shareholders’ capital, which reduces the company’s dependence on bank loans. “Our objective is to remain financially independent. The financial crisis in 2009 underlined just how important this is.” Knaebel went on to say that the Asian and Latin American markets have grown in importance since the financial crisis, while the American and some European markets have remained unchanged.
Despite the difficulties, Aesculap still manages to achieve continuous growth. In order to meet market demand, Aesculap increased the staff at its Tuttlingen site to 3000 (up 200), bringing the total staff number in 2010 to around 9500 worldwide (2009: 9000). Knaebel expects the company to recruit more staff in 2011. Based on the first quarter figures that show a sales increase of 11.6 per cent over the previous year, Knaebel envisages another successful business year ahead.Based on expected growth in 2011, Aesculap plans to invest around 100 to 120 million euros in the company’s Tuttlingen site. As the expansion projects are still in the planning phase, Knaebel was unable to disclose further details.
Aesculap attaches great importance to hiring newly qualified staff. The company recruits around 80 trainees every year and is involved in education partnerships with universities, schools and even kindergartens. This is a reflection of the closer networking between schools and companies in general, and against this background Aesculap is aiming to support the early scientific and technological education of children as well as to prepare schoolchildren more effectively for a professional career in the sector, said Norbert Feldhaus, head of human resources at Aesculap.