After the number of incoming orders surpassed the previous year's figures in the first months of the current fiscal year, Bosch Rexroth expects a noticeable recovery in sales for the second half of the year. The company achieved double-digit growth rates in China and India despite the decline in business volume during the 2009 recession; sales in Brazil have been sustained at pre-crisis levels. Though growth is expected, a return to pre-recession levels is not expected for several years.
"We are looking ahead and Bosch Rexroth will grow again in 2010," says Albert Hieronimus, chairman of the executive board at Bosch Rexroth AG, while presenting the company figures for the 2009 fiscal y ear in Frankfurt, Germany.
In the first months of the 2010 fiscal year, the number of incoming orders exceeded the preceding year's figures, but they did not reach the high level of 2008. The company expects a noticeable recovery starting in the second half of the year and is focusing on growth markets, especially in Asia.
"The crisis rapidly accelerated Asia's importance for our company," Hieronimus says.
In 2009, Bosch Rexroth generated a quarter of its sales in Asia, compared to around 16 percent in the previous years. In Europe and America, Bosch Rexroth experience substantial downturns in mobile machinery and factory automation equipment.
During 2009, the number of employees at Bosch Rexroth fell by around 3 percent, to 34,200. "In 2009, Bosch Rexroth was especially careful about retaining its core team across the corporation," Hieronimus says. "We have taken advantage of all available measures for flexible working hours and reduced work schedules."
The company made substantial investments developing new products in 2009, with around $364 million devoted to research and development. Due to the recession, growth prospects for numerous machine engineering industries have changed. An increasing number of machine and plant manufacturers are turning to one-source, multi-technology solutions. "The global economic crisis considerably accelerated previously anticipated market shifts, especially in the capital goods sector," says the chairman of the executive board.
Bosch Rexroth is attempting to capitalize on these market shifts with a new structure that focuses on markets and industries. As of July 1, the company will concentrate all its activities into mobile applications, industrial applications and renewable energies units. Although management estimates that it will take several years for the machine and plant engineering to achieve the record high achieved in 2007, they expressed cautious optimism. In regard to business development, Hieronimus says, "Starting in 2010, Bosch Rexroth will return to the growth trend of the first eight years, and we anticipate that we will considerably surpass the order volume and turnover from 2009."