Sales and profits improve for Hilti Group

Christoph Loos

Hilti Group, the construction equipment and software and services specialist, reported better annual sales and profits for 2019.

The group, which recently announced it is relocating its UK headquarters from Trafford Park to central Manchester, achieved sales of £4.97bn, up 6.3%.

Operating profits of £659.5m represented a 7.4% improvement on 2018.

“Against the backdrop of noticeable economic slowdown and negative currency influences we achieved solid growth that was substantially greater than what was seen in the worldwide construction market,” said Hilti CEO Christoph Loos.

“Our profitability continues at a high level, even though we made significant investments in implementing our corporate strategy and in strengthening the future sustainability of the group.”

The North America and Europe business regions grew in local currencies by 7.3 and 6.9 per cent, respectively.

The above-average growth rates in Central and Western Europe were particularly gratifying.

Similarly, to the previous year, Latin America posted an increase of 8.5 per cent, driven by the further recovery of the Brazilian market.

The performance in the Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa region was mixed (+3.7%).

While the Middle East was affected by political tensions, Eastern Europe saw double-digit growth. In the Asia/Pacific region growth slowed to 4.3 per cent and was, therefore, below expectations.

Expenditures on research and development, at CHF £309m, were 3.2 per cent higher than in the previous year.

This formed the basis for the high number of innovations (70) brought to market in 2019. At the end of the year the group employed 30,006 team members, roughly 1,000 employees more than at the end of 2018 (+3.5%).

In 2020 the Hilti Group expects the market environment to remain challenging, due to ongoing political uncertainties and trade conflicts, as well as a possible global effect stemming from the coronavirus.

The company is, nonetheless, adhering to its strategic objectives, it said, and will use its solid financial position to make additional significant investments in innovative solutions and in the digitalisation of corporate processes.

Sales growth over the entire year is anticipated to be in the mid-single digits, while profitability should be around the same level as in 2019.