Kufstein, May, 2011

30 years - VIKING celebrates and expands

Gardening power tools manufacturer VIKING, based in Langkampfen, Tyrol, celebrated its 30th anniversary with a stylish employee party in the Kufstein Arena on 27 May 2011. The company, which last year achieved a turnover of 110 million euros with 268 employees, was founded in Kufstein in 1981.
 
The garden shredder was the first product and today the company is the number 1 for garden shredders among European specialist dealers. Three years after foundation of the company, VIKING began the development of its own line of lawn mowers in 1984. The lawn mower was soon to become the most important product in the range, which today also includes robotic mowers, ride-on mowers, scarifiers, garden shredders and tillers.
 
In 1992, a decisive milestone in the company's history was reached: VIKING became a fully-owned subsidiary of the German STIHL Group, the global market leader for motorised saws. Since 1982, VIKING had been managed by Heinrich Lechner. Nikolas Stihl, the grandson of the STIHL company founder, joined the company in 1993. The gardening power tool range was completely renewed. Turnover and the number of employees increased rapidly. At the end of the 90s, impressive increases in turnover were achieved. Within two years, VIKING doubled its turnover and the number of employees broke the 100 barrier.
 
As the old plant in Kufstein was "bursting at the seams", production was transferred to Langkampfen in 2001. In 2007, an extension was built. The company flourished and, even in the crisis year 2009, VIKING was not forced to reduce the number of employees and no short-time work was necessary. Since 2010, VIKING has also produced all the battery-powered machines for its parent company STIHL, such as battery-powered chain saws and hedge trimmers.
 
At the centre of VIKING's company strategy is its rigorous product range policy in conjunction with service-oriented specialist dealers as exclusive sales partners. VIKING now serves a network of 11,000 specialist dealers. The core market is primarily Europe.
 
Growth at VIKING is continuing. It was recently decided to begin with the next extension to the building at Langkampfen. This extension will already be started this summer and completed by the autumn of 2012.
 
Upon succeeding long-serving VIKING Managing Director Nikolas Stihl, who returned to the parent company in Waiblingen (Germany), in April 2011, Peter Pretzsch announced the ambitious objective for the near future: "Our goal is to become the number 1 on the European specialist market for gardening power tools."