Stadler Rail patron Peter Spuhler (63) is “close to a solution” for filling the CEO post. “I didn’t say we have anyone. But we are close to a solution,” said Spuhler in an interview with the newspaper “Finanz und Wirtschaft” published online on Tuesday.
“But resigning now would be like treason,” said Spuhler. He can’t go now. “An entrepreneur cannot run away when grenades hit left and right,” said the Stadler Chairman of the Board of Directors, who has also led the eastern Swiss group as interim CEO since Thomas Ahlburg (52) left in May 2020.
Because there are currently too many problems: “It’s a pretty toxic cocktail. In addition to the Ukraine crisis, we have commodity prices that are exploding, supply chains that are breaking off, high inflation that will lead to higher wages,” said Spuhler. The worst thing is the simultaneous occurrence of all these challenges.
When asked what that means for Stadler’s results, Spuhler said: “We communicated the guidance on the condition that things went towards normality. It shakes a little at the moment. It’s great for Stadler that we have a very high order backlog. That’s reassuring.”
On the cost side, attempts are being made to stem the price explosion for components. “But nobody knows where that will lead,” said Spuhler. But that is not a profit warning: “The sales target is achievable as long as the supply chains do not break off massively. The same applies to order intake and EBIT margin.»
In the current year, Stadler wants to achieve sales of 3.7 to 4 billion francs, as the group announced in March. The incoming orders should amount to 5 to 6 billion Swiss francs. Stadler expects to invest around 200 million francs in 2022 to provide the necessary capacities.
In the medium term, the Group has set itself the target of an EBIT margin of 8 to 9 percent (2021: 6.2 percent). However, due to the pandemic and the global political situation, this should only be achieved one to two years later, Stadler announced in March. Stadler had originally expected the medium-term targets for 2023.
No copyist for Belarusian work
For the plant in Belarus, where Stadler wants to cut production because of the sanctions as a result of the Ukraine war, one does not have to make a write-off “at the moment”, said Spuhler: “We are not closing the plant completely and assume that we be able to ramp up production again after the sanctions are lifted.”
With regard to the financial burden of the factory near Minsk, Spuhler said: “Today we are assuming a single-digit million amount.” In March, Spuhler spoke of costs in the low single-digit millions. (SDA/sfa)