Another year of record results
The Bossard Group posted again record results for the 2018 financial year. Sales rose by 10.8 percent to CHF 871.1 million compared to 2017. All market regions contributed to this significant growth. In the fourth quarter, our business in America and Asia grew by double-digits, exceeding expectations. The demand in the European markets slowed down at a high level. On balance, the Bossard Group achieved sales growth of 7.9 percent to CHF 212.1 million in the fourth quarter. The overall solid performance is largely based on our steadily growing range of products and services.
Bossard did face a more challenging economic environment in the second half of the year, particularly in the European markets. For the year, sales in this region grew by 10.8 percent to a recordhigh of CHF 493.0 million. Europe posted increased sales of 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter for a total of CHF 114.9 million (in local currency: +4.9 percent), roughly equivalent to growth in the third quarter. The reasons for slower growth in Europe are manifold: 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 normalization of demand.
New momentum in the America business
Demand for Bossard products and services has remained strong since mid-year. Sales in the fourth quarter rose by 13.0 percent to CHF 61.0 million, a healthy 14.0 percent increase in local currency. For the full year 2018, sales in America increased by 9.4 percent (in local currency: +10.1 percent) to CHF 240.9 million. The gratifying growth achieved is 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 a healthy 13.4 percent (in local currency: +12.5 percent) over the previous year to CHF 137.2 million. 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 percent (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 will present the detailed financial statements and the annual report 2018 at the media and analyst conference on March 6, 2019.