Ladies and Gentlemen,
2019 was a successful year for TÜV SÜD from a business perspective. Our sales revenue rose to approximately EUR 2.6 billion, equating to growth of 3.7%. We held our own in a tough business environment, generating EBIT of close to EUR 203 million and an EBIT margin of 7.8%. By the end of 2019 our company employed over 25,000 people in more than 1,000 locations across the world.
Unfortunately, 2019 will be remembered for an incident in late January, which has occupied us, as a Board of Management, ever since. On January 25, 2019, a tailings dam at an iron-ore mine in Brazil tragically collapsed, causing a mud slide which left more than 270 people dead. Some months before this tragic incident, our Brazilian subsidiary, TÜV SÜD Bureau de Projetos e Consultoria Ltda., which we had acquired in 2013, had completed some inspections at the dam on behalf of the mine operator.
Today, over a year after the dam collapsed, the cause of the tragedy is still unclear. Technical analysis and legal investigations are ongoing. TÜV SÜD is still very much interested in clarifying the facts of the dam breach; we continue to offer our cooperation to the responsible authorities, both in Germany and Brazil.
Our corporate slogan, “Add value. Inspire trust.”, illustrates that trust is at the very core of what we do. People need to trust in our independence, expertise and impartiality. By sustainable actions – and, if necessary, refusing customer requests that are not in compliance with our Code of Ethics – we strengthen the trust in TÜV SÜD, protect society and the environment from technology- related risks, and thereby consolidate our role in the future.
Our future role in enabling a safe and sustainable world, is the central goal of our new strategy, “The Next Level. Together.”, which we developed in 2018 in a process that integrated all our employees, globally. By working together, we will propel our company to “the next level” or, in line with the title of this Annual Report: “advance.”
We made investments of over EUR 125 million in 2019. This translates to a very powerful signal as to our commitment to the future. Digitalization and future mobility continue to be two areas of development. We have made investments in cutting-edge IT systems and testing software, while expanding our digital training footprint. Our state-of-the-art NEV testing laboratory for electric vehicle batteries in China started operations in late 2019. Further expansions of similar test facilities in Germany, Asia and the USA are in the pipeline. In Heimsheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, a new laboratory for assessing the environmental standards of petrol and diesel engine vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) and fully electric vehicles (EVs) will be completed by the fall of 2020.
TÜV SÜD is investing in our core business, which will see the technical upgrading of our motor vehicle inspection services in Germany thereby strengthening our conventional inspection business. Likewise, our new center of excellence for subsea pipelines in Scotland started operations last year and the inauguration of our new Asia headquarters in Singapore is scheduled for the Summer of 2020.
Our company is fully committed to protecting people, the environment, and assets from technology-related risks. The topic of cyber security is a common thread across all areas of activity. As an active member of the “Charter of Trust,” an international alliance aimed at improving security in the digital domain, we are actively contributing to this important social topic and extending the public discussion surrounding it.
At TÜV SÜD we are guided by the principles of independence, impartiality, quality, and expertise. Our extensive code of conduct on quality and compliance is an integral component of our corporate culture. Our employees receive regular training in this domain, and compliance is continuously and independently verified. We are committed to fostering diversity and treat each other with tolerance and respect. By investing in training of our people, our most important asset, we ensure our company’s future and provide a solid foundation for our values and for our high technical standards to support cutting-edge technical innovation.
COVID-19 has come to dominate 2020, and TÜV SÜD is not immune from the consequences of the Pandemic. Governments in many countries have implemented wide reaching restrictions on public activities and these have impacted the global economy. We at TÜV SÜD are committed to doing everything we can to protect our employees, our families and clients alike. Concurrently, we are taking active steps to limit the financial impact on our business and steer the company safely through these troubled times. We are a financially healthy company and are well equipped to manage the economic consequences of the Pandemic.
At TÜV SÜD we are proud of how we are making an active contribution to relieving the consequences of this crisis and helping to improve people’s lives. We are testing and approving medical equipment, testing and maintaining emergency vehicles, and certifying food hygiene at a time when the world needs our expertise and knowledge. We remain ready to help wherever and whenever called upon.
Working closely with all our employees around the world, we help create a safe and sustainable society. This is our reason for existence.
Munich, March 26, 2020
The Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG
|Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Stepken||Ishan Palit||Dr. Matthias J. Rapp|
|Chairman of the|
|Member of the Board of Management||Member of the|