From left to right: Karsten Xander, Axel Stepken, Matthias J. Rapp, Dirk Eilers
2016 was a very special year for TÜV SÜD because we were able to celebrate a special anniversary: along the lines of “150 years of inspiring trust”, we looked back on the exciting and successful company history at many events with our customers and employees both at home and abroad. At the same time, we took the opportunity to initiate a dialogue about the future of TÜV SÜD – at a time when we are facing fundamental changes, driven above all by the digital transformation of the economy and society.
We are addressing these challenges from a position of economic strength, which we once again demonstrated last year. We were able to increase revenue and earnings again – and with the complete takeover of the Spanish technical service provider ATISAE, we concluded the largest acquisition in the history of our company.
We want to be present in all the relevant markets worldwide with our services. And we want to be among the leading players in our industry in each of these markets. For many years we have been systematically targeting profitable growth and the internationalization of our company. We want to continue to grow through acquisitions as well as from within the organization. With a 5.5 percent increase in revenue, we have achieved the goal we set ourselves. This positive development has again been supported by all segments and almost all regions.
The foreign share of our business has been growing constantly for many years. More than 43 percent of our revenue and around 60 percent of our growth came from outside Germany in 2016, with more than half of our 24,000 employees working in our international regions.
The fact that TÜV SÜD is well positioned in the 151st year of its existence is especially due to the dedication of the people who, day in, day out represent what our customers associate with TÜV SÜD: competence, objectivity and integrity, professionalism and reliability. Like our founding fathers in the 19th century, these values gain people’s acceptance, reduce risks, pave the way for technological progress – and at the same time create the basis for the success of TÜV SÜD. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our employees for their daily commitment and, in particular, for their performance in 2016.
In the coming years we want to boldly continue TÜV SÜD’s success story and, in particular, to meet the challenges of ever-accelerating digitization. This calls many things into question, familiar business models no longer work, a diversity of new opportunities arise. We want to take advantage of these opportunities. This is because we have a core competency that cannot be rated highly enough in times of digital transformation: we create trust in technologies, products and processes – and this enables us to create the key prerequisite for technical progress. Only if people know that a new technology is safe will they accept it in the long term.
Innovations constitute progress only if they are safe. At the time of our founding in 1866, this applied to steam technology, to electrical engineering and the automobile – and it is also especially true of digital transformation and Industry 4.0.
Our aim is that the digital transformation will be a success for our customers – not least by accepting and driving change in our own company, and by developing new services and business models in a threefold strategy that addresses cyber security, secure data platforms and advanced analytics.
We are also now in a position of fundamental transition – from being the classic provider of testing and certification services to the international solution provider for safety, security and reliability. In doing so, we continue to follow the path we have been successfully pursuing for more than 150 years: adapting consistently to the new framework conditions that technical progress entails.
We want to continue in this direction in the future and rise to the challenges of digitization. What is more: we want to use digitization as an opportunity to grow further and to shape our business for a successful future. Here, too, we reached important milestones in 2016, including the establishment of the Digital Service function and the Centers of Excellence in Singapore and Munich. We collect experience in pilot projects with our customers, in the continuous monitoring of lift systems or in the predictive maintenance of power stations. In the development of highly automated vehicles, we are working with various manufacturers on new forms of individual mobility and we are contributing our experience to the development of testing and certification principles. Together with partners from industry and science, we create the conditions for the intelligent production facilities of tomorrow – from collaborating robots to complete smart factories.
All this highlights that we want the digital transformation and we intend to shape it successfully. Because as a company we not only look back on a long and successful tradition, but we are also looking forward to a future that is just as successful – you can rely on that!
Munich, March 31, 2017
The Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG