Endress+Hauser experienced strong growth across all regions, sectors and product areas in 2018. The ongoing digitalisation of the industry and positive development on international markets provided the impetus. The group increased sales and profits, invested heavily and created hundreds of jobs worldwide. “The bottom line is that 2018 was a good year for Endress+Hauser worldwide,” explained CEO, Matthias Altendorf at the group’s annual media conference in Basel. We increased net sales by 9,5% to €2,455 billion, despite facing strong headwinds from foreign exchange rates. Expressed in local currencies, sales grew by 12,7%.
The business was bolstered by a strong economy in the process automation sector. Continued high demand from private consumers as well as recovering oil and raw material prices contributed to the solid growth. After years of restrained investment activity, large scale projects made a return. According to chief financial officer, Dr Luc Schultheiss, the company’s performance exceeded the industry average.
Endress+Hauser made excellent progress in Europe. Business was also dynamic in Africa and the Middle East, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. The strongest growth was seen in the Americas, however. “After 65 years, the US has replaced Germany as our largest sales market,” reported Altendorf. “China also grew at a double digit pace.” Operating profit increased by 31,4% to €330,6 million, profit before taxes rose by 14,6% to €315,7 million and return on sales climbed 0,6 points to 12,9%.
Innovations for the digital age
Endress+Hauser’s growth was fuelled by a wealth of innovations. The company brought 54 new products to the market last year. Research and development investment climbed to €184,2 million, representing 7,5% of sales. The company filed 287 initial patents in 2018. At the end of the year, Endress+Hauser held nearly 7800 patents and other intellectual property rights.
About one third of the new patents were related to the IIoT, digital communications, diagnostics and electronics. “Digitalisation is penetrating all areas,” explained Altendorf. “Apart from 1000 developers active in the group’s centres of competence, various start-ups are also busy working on products, solutions and services for the digital age. Endress+Hauser is furthermore collaborating closely with industry partners such as software specialist, SAP.”
A further driver of growth was process analysis. The optical analyser business performed extremely well. Endress+Hauser established a European support centre for advanced analysers in France. The network of sales specialists in this area is growing in Europe. The CEO is hoping for additional impulses to spur this business area.
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