Stadler says it was hit hard by the currency shock in January 2015 when the Swiss National Bank removed the exchange rate cap between the Swiss franc and the euro. Stadler says 3000 of its 7000 employees are based in “high-wage” Switzerland and while more than 50% of sales are exports, its accounts are in Swiss francs.
“The expansion of Stadler’s base through the tapping of new markets and new market segments as well the launching of new products has paid off: in 2016, Stadler almost returned to its old strength despite the currency-related setbacks of recent years,” the company says.
“I am pleased that Stadler was able to overcome the challenges of the Swiss currency crisis in recent years,” says Mr Peter Spuhler, owner and group CEO of Stadler. “The removal of the Swiss franc’s exchange rate cap resulted in a collapse of the margins. The package of measures decided upon was well received by the workforce and brought the employees even closer together. This has allowed us to make it through the crisis stronger than before and remain on a healthy footing.”
The purchase of Vossloh’s Rail Vehicle division in Valencia, Spain, in December 2015 boosted the workforce to 7000. Its workforce is currently 7300 due to the establishment of a joint venture in Poland with Solaris Bus & Coach, Poland, and Stadler’s new engineering facility in Chemnitz, Germany. Stadler is pushing ahead with its plans to build a new factory in St Margrethen, Switzerland, which will take over the production of double-deck EMUs from its 100-year-old plant in Altenrhein.
Looking ahead, Stadler says the global market for rolling stock is growing - driven by “enormous population growth” and the need for investment owing to outdated infrastructure. “At the same time, the level of competition is also on the rise,” Stadler says. “In particular, the advances being made by Chinese providers are leading to greater margin pressure. Stadler needs to tackle this challenge by demonstrating a great deal of innovative capacity and investing in new products.”