Friedrich P. Kötter warns of considerable risks for Germany from increasing de-industrialisation and massive labour shortages
- Nationwide family business records positive organic turnover development in the past financial year with an increase of two percent
- KÖTTER Security: Significant growth through integrative risk management / Former contracts for passenger screening at airports fully compensated for
- KÖTTER Cleaning: Positive development due to new orders and order extensions / Logistics areas cleaned by the entire area of a large city
The KÖTTER Group, which operates throughout Germany, concluded the past business year with an increase in turnover. The family business thus once again confirmed its strong performance in an extremely difficult overall economic environment, which was largely shaped by the profound economic and energy crisis resulting from the Russian war against Ukraine. Group turnover with organic growth of two percent rose to 601 million euros.
“We are very proud of these results, which have enabled our Group to stay on course in the face of the greatest challenges,” said Board member Friedrich P. Kötter. “Our secure foundation is the diversification of sectors and services, the operational strength of our sites and employees, as well as the holistic industry solutions that are becoming increasingly shaped by digitalisation and sustainability.” Despite this encouraging performance, there is “no reason for euphoria or even exaggerated growth expectations” with regard to the current business year, the family business owner emphasised. “Even if occasionally more positive economic forecasts are made, the critical situation is far from over. The slump in many sectors was, or is, too deep for that and, from the point of view of many companies, there are too many burdens and obstacles to growth. This applies explicitly to energy-intensive companies, which are no longer making significant new investments in Germany. In addition, global uncertainties remain considerable.
Facts and figures on the individual divisions / Examples of environmental protection in practice
- KÖTTER Security: The largest division recorded significant growth. The drivers were the holistic Smart Security Solutions with new orders and order extensions in the logistics, automotive and insurance sectors, among others. “This is a significant change compared to the Corona period, when temporary services dominated on the order side,” says Friedrich P. Kötter. The increases also helped to compensate for the former contracts for passenger controls at Dresden, Erfurt and Cologne/Bonn airports, for the continuation of which there were no longer adequate contract award conditions. In the course of integrative risk management solutions, special services also played a central role: KÖTTER Fire & Service, for example, made an important contribution to operational rescue services and professional hazard defence in the area of plant and company fire brigades with more than 2,500 operations for technical and medical assistance as well as preventive and defensive fire protection (more than twice as many as in 2021).
- KÖTTER Cleaning: KÖTTER Cleaning was able to continue its positive development through new orders and order extensions. As a result, the division strengthened its market position as a 360-degree quality provider whose holistic cleaning and hygiene concepts provide a wide range of advantages, despite the loss of Corona-related special orders for hygiene and disinfection. One example of the successful solutions that KÖTTER Cleaning provides for almost all industries is the cleaning of logistics areas. In this sector alone, a total area of more than 260 square kilometres was cleaned throughout Germany – this represents an increase of more than ten percent and, in comparison, a volume that exceeds the total area of many major German cities. At the same time, environmental protection was not neglected. For example, the service provider saved over 4.3 million litres of water through highly efficient systems and cleaning machines alone – that’s a further improvement of almost 15% compared to the previous year.
- KÖTTER Personal Service: KÖTTER Personnel Service held its own despite an extremely difficult overall economic environment that was especially difficult for the temporary staffing industry, although the company’s own business development was also affected by the reorganisation of services in the retail sector following the market exit of a major customer. The reduction in temporary positions, which has resulted in the total number of employees being 15,600, will be gradually compensated for by full-time and part-time positions. In the 2022 business year, the division demonstrated its capabilities not only in human resources consulting and recruitment for a wide range of industries, but also in complex project management. For example, the service provider supported nationwide DIY stores as a reliable partner in in-store logistics. Almost nine million parts alone were sorted – from hammer drills etc. to small parts such as screws. At the same time, KÖTTER Personnel Service expanded its position as a specialist for taking over delimitable business processes on the basis of contracts for work or services in other sectors such as industry, chemical and pharmaceutical industry or IT and is therefore well positioned for the future given a sustained economic recovery.
Outlook for the further development of the company and policy recommendations
The group will continue to expand its business model of integrative facility services in the current financial year and consistently push the top trends of sustainability as well as digitalisation and robotics. “In this way, we will further optimise our own processes and at the same time provide our customers with even more powerful solutions for greater security and service, in which climate and environmental protection always play a central role,” says Friedrich P. Kötter.
At the same time, every effort is being made to manage the labour shortage, “which has long been on red alert in the economy and which particularly affects us as a personnel-intensive provider,” explained Friedrich P. Kötter. The focus here is, among other things, on education and training, for which the Group achieved a volume of almost 650,000 hours (+ 8%) in 2022. It is a crucial motivator and thus an important element in recruiting and retaining employees.
In view of Germany’s increasing economic weakness and the challenges posed by the shortage of labour, which is costing the country important boosts in growth, the family business urged politicians to step up the pace of reform. “Even if the feared far-reaching recession does not materialise – the current prospect of zero growth and the low average growth rates of past years will not bring us forward in the long run,” Friedrich P. Kötter emphasised. Especially as a business-oriented service provider that benefits from a solid economy, we view the overall economic constellation, which is marked by increasing de-industrialisation, with the greatest concern. Germany urgently needs a new growth dynamic through more innovation and fast decision-making processes in the public sector! In addition to a lower tax burden and more investment, e.g. in education and research, less bureaucracy and a modern public infrastructure with digitalised administrative processes are indispensable for achieving this. In order to achieve this goal, however, politicians must not just frantically launch more and more new projects, but above all must always consider their successful implementation to the end. Otherwise, instead of less bureaucracy, companies will end up with more bureaucracy due to manual errors – as is currently the case, for example, with electronic sick notes.