Bossard Group once again posted record results, this time for the 2018 financial year, bolstered by an unexpectedly strong performance from the business in America and Asia.
Sales rose 10.8% to CHF 871.1m compared to 2017. All market regions contributed to this significant growth. Q4 saw the business in America and Asia grow by double-digits, while demand in the European markets slowed down at a high level. On balance, the Bossard Group achieved sales growth of 7.9% to CHF 212.1m in Q4. The overall solid performance is largely based on our steadily growing range of products and services, Bossard said.
Challenges in Europe
Bossard did face a more challenging economic environment in the second half of the year, particularly in Europe. For the year, sales in this region grew 10.8% to a record high of CHF 493.0 million. Europe posted increased sales of 4.2% in Q4 to CHF 114.9 million (in local currency: +4.9 percent), roughly equivalent to growth in the Q3. The reasons for slower growth in Europe are manifold, the group said: "We continue to see some customers operating at high capacity, which tends to flatten the potential for above-average growth. Another factor was a certain basis effect: The basis for comparison – the fourth quarter of 2017 – was already at a high level. Finally, the purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) in Europe also indicate a normalisation of demand."
Late in the year, Bossard acquired a stake in a Swiss 3D printing company.
New momentum in the America business
Demand for Bossard products and services has remained strong since mid-year. Sales in Q4 rose 13.0% to CHF 61.0 million, a healthy 14.0% increase in local currency.
For the full year 2018, sales in America increased 9.4% (in local currency: +10.1 percent) to CHF 240.9 million, with the growth broad-based: "Our cooperation with the largest US electric vehicle manufacturer also contributed positively to the acceleration in demand in the second half of the year. This customer significantly increased production of its third model series."
Brisk demand in Asia
The Bossard Group also posted record sales on the Asian markets. Sales grew by 13.4% (in local currency: +12.5%) over the previous year to CHF 137.2 million. Bossard said: "It is satisfying to note that we were able to sustain this momentum from October through December. Counter to the general market trends in this region, sales in the fourth quarter increased by 12.4% (in local currency: +13.5 percent) to CHF 36.2 million. The positive business performance continues to reflect our development efforts over recent years."
Bossard bolstered its market position in China with the acquisition of Linquan Precision, in December 2018.