Maximilian Viessmann, co-chief executive of the Viessmann Group
Following a global market slump at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the family-owned company and its installer partners quickly consolidated and kept day-to-day life going for customers internationally, growing sales by six per cent over 2019.
Maximilian Viessmann, co-chief executive of the family business, said, at the Viessmann Live digital event on 22 March: 'Thanks to a unique sense of solidarity among our installation partners and our 12,750 family members, we have successfully managed to continue to grow in a year of crisis. We did this with a lot of positive energy and for our common purpose: to create living spaces for generations to come. A crisis shows clearly who you are, and not who you want to be. Together and united, we have shown who we are. I am extremely grateful for the team spirit, the solidarity and the sense of responsibility demonstrated by the entire team.'
Sales growth is largely attributed to Viessmann’s renewable energy-based climate solutions and digital services. Green climate solutions – which now account for approximately 50 per cent of Viessmann turnover – include hydrogen-ready wall-mounted gas boilers, fuel cells (+8 per cent), heat pumps (+35 per cent) and batteries (+48 per cent). On the digital technology and services side, Viessmann saw dynamic growth in its subsidy management programme, Viessmann Wärme/Heating-as-a-Service business and both installer and end-user apps. Viessmann recorded notable positive growth in Germany, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Turkey and Switzerland.
In 2020, Viessmann acquired a stake in ThermoWise, a renowned South African commercial heat pump specialist, laying the foundation for entry into fast-growing markets in Africa. Viessmann also expanded its product portfolio and improved market access in Central and Eastern Europe through the acquisition of Kospel in Poland, a specialist manufacturer of electric instantaneous water heaters, electric boilers and domestic hot water cylinders. A growing presence in South-East Asia involved setting up new company locations, notably in Singapore.
Viessmann has seen double-digit percentage growth in sales in the first two months of 2021.
Successful crisis management during the pandemic
Viessmann’s 20 production plants around the globe continued production during the pandemic with almost no interruptions, thanks to excellent hygiene, Covid-secure working practices and a far-reaching testing strategy, which resulted in below-average numbers of COVID-19 cases within the company.
Responding to needs outside of the core business, Viessmann embarked on various social responsibility initiatives, manufacturing mobile ventilators, ICUs, face masks and disinfectants. Viessmann engineers developed the new Vitovent 200-P air purification system, to supply school classrooms with continuous fresh air, removing aerosols and protecting students and teachers against viral infection. In addition, the Viessmann Foundation supported more than 80 schools during the crisis with the supply of ventilation solutions, laptops, computers, monitors, disinfectants and masks.
During 2020, Viessmann invested more than €120 million in its own future. Research and development focussed on hydrogen-ready heating systems and fuel cells, and holistic solutions for purely electricity-powered houses, including digital energy management. A new development centre for heat pumps in Dresden, Germany, was established. Viessmann increased the number of employees by 450 to a total of 12,750.
“Co-create climate for life” – the theme behind latest climate innovations
Viessmann has also unveiled a number of new products, platforms, digital and other services to tackle global warming, together with specialist partners. Highlights, relevant to the UK market, include:
A new electronics platform; hydrogen ready products and new CHP units.