FLUMS, Switzerland – Fritz Studer AG, the Swiss machine tool maker, said last week it plans to maintain momentum despite potential political and economic challenges.
“We can only be successful if we have successful customers,” Jens Bleher, the company’s CEO, said through a translator at a trade press briefing at VersuchsStollen Hagerbach – a series of tunnels dug into a Swiss mountain. Studer has a research and development lab at the facility.
Studer said it had record financial results in 2018, without disclosing specific figures. The company’s customers are spread across various industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial machinery and dies and molds.
“Over 600 machines left our factory,” Bleher said.
However, the CEO said Studer faces new challenges in 2019.
Among them, he said, was the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union. If the U.K. leaves the EU without a trade accord in place, it may severely disrupt the country’s economy. The CEO sounded a pessimistic note.
“A no-deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely,” Bleher said.
Also of concern to the company, he said, is the likelihood of countries putting sanctions on Iran because of U.S. pressure. Studer also said a trade war may also affect Studer sales. The U.S. and China have paused a trade war while they negotiate disputes. There are also trade tensions between the U.S. and other major Asian nations as well as the EU.
‘Prepared for Declines’
“We must take account of reality,” Bleher said. “We must be prepared for declines.”
Studer, which is part of the United Grinding Group, is preparing to introduce updated versions of its S31 and S33 machines. The introduction is part of Studer’s strategy to continue expansion.
The company said it boosted its market share last year, with deliveries to more than 40 countries. “We are strong, thanks to portfolio diversification,” Sandro Bottazzo, Studer’s CSO, said through a translator.