When you look back at the number of bottles of oil that your dealership sold in 2021, there’s a strong chance that one brand made some impressive headway throughout the year.
Oil and additive specialist LIQUI MOLY closed 2021 with record sales of 733 million euro ($828 million). Earnings before taxes also soared to 38 million euro, a 40% increase vs. 2020. “This is a great result for a difficult year, but it is still a long way from the level we had before the pandemic,” said managing director Ernst Prost.
The leap in profit is the result of a countercyclical investment strategy in 2020. Back then, in the midst of the rampant pandemic, when many companies were massively cutting their expenditures, LIQUI MOLY decided to do the opposite. Investments, especially in marketing, were increased sharply. While this approach had an impact on earnings, it also provided a strong boost to brand awareness around the world. The effect was further strengthened by the simultaneous restraint of many competitors. This led to a strong increase in demand. In 2021, LIQUI MOLY’s turnover increased by 20% to 733 million euro, more lubricants were produced than ever before at 105,000 tons, and the number of employees reached a record high of 1,008.
“Where many workers at other companies went on short-time work, we increased the number of employees and created new jobs,” Prost said.
As in previous years, the increase in sales was greater in the export business (+30%) than in the saturated domestic market of Germany (+13%). The strong increase of 50% sales growth in the most important export market, the USA, also helped. Growth was also disproportionately high in other countries where LIQUI MOLY has its own subsidiaries, such as Portugal and Spain (46%), Italy (101%) and Australia (47%). LIQUI MOLY now exports around two thirds of its turnover.
Prost, 65, will retire on Feb. 22. Prost joined LIQUI MOLY in 1990 as sales and marketing manager. In the following years, he successively bought the company from its previous owners. Under his leadership, LIQUI MOLY developed into a global player: Internationalization was driven forward, and diversification towards areas such as motorcycles, boats and industry was developed. Since the last global economic crisis in 2008 alone, turnover has tripled from 232 million euro and the number of employees has more than doubled from 438 at that time. At the end of 2017, he sold his shares in the company to the Würth Group, but remained in charge as managing director.
“I know that ‘my LIQUI MOLY’ is in good hands – not only in those of Günter Hiermaier, who now bears sole responsibility for the company’s management, but also in those of my more than 1,000 colleagues. I would like to thank them all for the many wonderful years and decades of fighting together for success,” Prost said.