The Hilti Group has reported that in the first eight months of the current financial year sales were up 6.6% in local currencies. Operating results (+12.6%) and net income (+20.8%) were also above the previous year’s figures.
Group sales in Swiss Francs were up 7.3% year-on-year to reach CHF 3,049 million. Hilti stated that growth was reduced by the divestment of its US solar company Unirac in April. Excluding this effect, sales were up 7.8% in local currencies and 8.5% in Swiss Francs. “The positive sales curve shows that our Champion 2020 corporate strategy is bearing fruit. We succeeded in using the momentum in many regions and are satisfied with the current year,” stated Christoph Loos, Hilti’s CEO.
In Europe Hilti generated a solid sales increase of +7.3% in local currencies while North America posted continued double-digit growth thanks to high-level activity in the construction sector (+14,0% excl. Unirac). Eastern Europe / Middle East / Africa (+6.7%) and Asia/Pacific (+3.3%) also kept up the positive trend. However, Hilti was not immune to the economic and political uncertainties as well as the exchange rate fluctuations in Latin America, with sales declining by -5.7% year-on-year.
Thanks to productivity gains achieved mostly in procurement and production, return on sales increased to 12.1%. Return on capital employed grew to 21.2%. Altogether, the operating result was up 12.6% to CHF 369 million, while net income grew by 20.8% to CHF 289 million. This drive helped finance continuing high levels of investments in strategic growth initiatives, additional sales resources as well as R&D without declines in profitability. Total headcount was up 6.2% to 24,190 employees over previous year. R&D spend was increased by 17.8% to CHF 179 million year-on-year.
“We are well on track and confident that we will continue our accelerated growth rate while maintaining our current level of profitability,” added Loos.