The Bossard Group’s growth strategy continues to pay off. Sales rose by 5.9% to CHF 695.0 million in fiscal year 2016. The positive trend was most striking in the fourth quarter of 2016. Compared to the same time period in 2015, sales increased an impressive 15.1% to CHF 181.7 million. This growth was mainly fueled by business in Europe (+8.2%) and America (+38.9%). The marked growth in America is positively influenced by the acquisition of Arnold Industries, which was consolidated from September 1, 2016.
For years, Bossard’s growth strategy has promoted acquisitions and investments in high-performance infrastructures. Last year’s performance again impressively confirms this forward-looking strategy. Even going further back, results are still impressive. In spite of the significant appreciation of the Swiss franc in recent years and the challenging business environment in markets such as Switzerland and China, Bossard was still able to boost sales by a respectable 48% in the last 5 years while maintaining above-average profitability.
Growing momentum in Europe
In Europe, where Bossard realized approximately 58% of its revenue, sales for 2016 rose by 4.7% to CHF 401.6 million (in local currency: +3.6%). The upward-trending growth in the second half of the year is particularly noteworthy. The fourth quarter increase of 8.2% totaled CHF 96.0 million in sales (in local currency: +8.0%). Most countries contributed to this accelerated growth. Positive trends were also seen in Switzerland, where the significant appreciation of the Swiss franc at the beginning of 2015 had taken its toll on previous quarters. The acquisitions Bossard made in Europe in recent years further supported this satisfactory trend.
Significant strides in America
The greatest strides Bossard made in 2016 were in America. In this region, sales rose by 12.0% to CHF 186.1 million (in local currency: +9.3%) for the year. The 38.9% growth in the fourth quarter is on one hand attributable to the acquisition of Arnold Industries which added approximately two-thirds to the increase. On the other hand, the overall solid performance of the existing business in America contributed also very nicely with an increase of 15.3%. Sales resulting from the cooperation with the largest US electric vehicle manufacturer were an important contributor to the growing sales in the fourth quarter. Also noticeable is the fact that the demand from a major customer in the agricultural technology sector appears to be slowly stabilizing. Although Bossard posted another decline in this business in the fourth quarter, the drop was far less than in previous quarters. The fourth-quarter organic sales growth of 15.3% compares to 6.3% for the whole year and underlines the very strong business development in the last quarter in this region.
Organic growth in Asia
Bossard’s Asian business also made progress, reflecting successful development efforts in the various markets. Sales for the entire year increased by 0.6% to CHF 107.3 million; the 3.1% growth in local currency demonstrates that Bossard can tap potential in Asia as well. Fourth quarter figures also trended upward. Sales increased by 3.4% to CHF 30.4 million, an increase of 5.6% in local currency. Our business did particularly well in China, where we have made considerable investments in recent years. In spite of the persistently challenging market environment, the Bossard Group posted sales growth in the most important Asian market in the third as well as in the fourth quarter.
Bossard will release the detailed year-end financial statements and the 2016 annual report at the media and analyst conference on March 8, 2017.