The Hilti Group closed the 2015 financial year with sales growth of +5.8% in local currencies, it reports. Despite the strong Swiss franc, operating result, return on sales and return on capital employed (ROCE) were up again over the record figures of the previous year.

In North America there was double-digit growth resulting in sales exceeding the US€ 1 billion mark for the first time in the company’s history. In Europe, business stabilized further and the markets in Northern, Central, Western and Southern Europe performed well across the board. On the other hand, many emerging countries were faced with a challenging environment caused by investment freezes due to the low oil price along with other economic and geopolitical tensions.

Despite strong exchange rate pressure and continued high investments, the operating result grew from CHF 537 million to CHF 547 million (+2%). As a result, return on sales (ROS) was up from 11.9 to 12.5%.

Challenging year

‘2015 was a challenging year for us with highly satisfying results in the end,’ said CEO Christoph Loos. ‘Over the next few years we will benefit from having made substantial investments to accelerate our growth.’ In 2015, the group’s R&D spending grew by +8.1% to CHF 240 million. Headcount was up to 23,385, an increase of +5.1%.

‘We are confident that the investments made over the past few years will trigger higher growth in local currencies, that the operating result will be increased again and that we will be able to grow our global market shares further,’ added Loos. ‘This is a consistent implementation of our Champion 2020 Corporate Strategy and a further differentiation versus our competitors.’

This story uses material from Hilti, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.