Although most hydraulic and pneumatic manufacturers are reporting orders and shipments down across the board, Bosch Rexroth reports the highest revenues in its history.
The German company, with American headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., reported at Hannover Fair yesterday that it grew again in the past fiscal year and generated sales revenues totaling EUR 6.5 billion, the highest value in its history. The market decline in China and recession in Europe clearly did not have much impact on its growth.
"Following two turbulent recovery years in 2010 and 2011, the global machine construction market lost a significant amount of momentum, especially in the second half of 2012," explained Dr. Karl Tragl, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG.
Tragl added that Bosch Rexroth is bracing itself for the challenges ahead.
After a strong first quarter, the global investment climate cooled off appreciably over the course of 2012. This trend is expected to continue through the middle of this year and will unfavorably affect machinery and plant construction. Like the entire industry, Bosch Rexroth is also feeling the weakening momentum in China, where the demand for construction machinery declined by 40%.
"During the 2008-2009 crisis, China was still the key pillar supporting the capital goods industry. Last year, the USA took over that role," explained Tragl, adding, "As a global company present in all core markets, we were thus able to move with this shift in demand and generate peak sales despite the difficult market."
The strength of the U.S. market is reflected in the company's recent decision to expand its Fountain Inn, S.C. plant, which will become its largest hydraulic manufacturing campus in North America.
At the same time, the recession has gotten worse in many European countries. From the second half of 2012 on, incoming orders declined significantly, which will have an impact on plant capacity utilization far into the current year. At the end of 2012, the company employed approximately 37,500 associates; 18,900 of those are in Germany. Lower capacity utilization is currently being compensated for at individual plants with various measures related to working hours, such as reduced work schedules.
Tragl said he expects a recovery starting in the coming summer at the earliest. Bosch Rexroth anticipates that positive momentum will continue to come from the USA, whereas the risks of the debt crisis will continue to have a negative impact on the investment climate in Europe.
Despite the current economic climate, the company is investing EUR 370 million in research and development. That corresponds to a sales share of 5.7% and is again above the industry average. All in all, Bosch Rexroth invested EUR 678 million in new plants, machines, and equipment as well as in research and development in 2012.
Visit www.boschrexroth.com for more details.