ENP Newswire - 01 May 2014
Release date- 30042014 - Stuttgart/Friedrichshafen. ZF Friedrichshafen AG has once again proven itself to be a driving force for jobs in Germany in 2013: The technology company based in Friedrichshafen created approximately 4 200 jobs globally; with 2 000 positions, about half of the jobs were created in Germany.
During the same period, sales increased by 8 % from EUR15.5 billion to EUR16.8 billion.
'ZF once again experienced above-average growth last year', announced ZF's CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer on Wednesday at the presentation of the balance sheet in Stuttgart, Germany. 'Whether in Europe, the U.S. or China, we were only able to manage this development with additional qualified and dedicated employees.' Thanks to the new recruitments, ZF now employs about 72 600 people around the world; 41 900 of which are based at the German locations. Overall, this corresponds to a 6-percent increase.
Consequently, the workforce almost grew as strongly as Group sales which, thanks to an 8-percent increase, amounted to EUR16.8 billion. 'With a 15-percent sales increase, the Region of Asia-Pacific in particular gave us a special impetus', said Sommer. He mentioned that ZF opened new axle assembly plants in China and Malaysia and secured new orders.
With sales of about EUR3 billion respectively, North America and Asia-Pacific are the most important foreign markets for the technology company after Europe, even though the sales increase in Europe (8 %) and North America (5 %) was lower than in the Far East. In July 2013, ZF opened a new transmission plant for 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions in Gray Court, South Carolina (USA), which is already being expanded as a result of the high demand for these products. 'The United States of America are an important pillar of our business', emphasized Sommer. 'Thanks to our new plant, we are well-equipped there to be able to reliably supply our customers.' Sommer announced that it is anticipated that ZF will also produce the new 9-speed automatic transmission in China for the Asian market from 2017 onwards. By this wide localization of production, the company wants to avoid becoming too dependent upon one market region.
At 15 % and 11 % respectively, Car Driveline Technology and Car Chassis Technology experienced the strongest growth when looking at the sales increase according to product segments. Sales at Commercial Vehicle Technology increased by 7 %; Electronic Systems and ZF Services enjoyed an increase of 4 % and 6 % respectively. These areas profited from a stronger worldwide demand while Industrial Technology was confronted with weaker and, in some cases, extremely volatile market developments and consequently recorded a 9-percent decline in sales.
As in previous years, ZF once again spent approximately 5 % of its sales on research and development in 2013 by investing EUR836 million in this area. In contrast, the EUR954 million used for investments in property, plant, and equipment was 7 % below the prior year value.
ZF not only increased sales last year; it also improved the profit situation. Operating profit increased from EUR597 million to EUR756 million, an increase of 27 %; the return on sales increased from 3.8 % to 4.5 %. 'We worked very hard on our cost structures and further improved them', said Dr. Konstantin Sauer, Member of the Board of Management of ZF Friedrichshafen AG responsible for Corporate Finance. 'We are now profiting from this.' The reorganization of materials management and the introduced optimizations of the net working capital also had a positive effect upon the Group's result and liquidity situation.
'This year, ZF will benefit from the positive market development in the majority of market regions and industries', said ZF's CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer. He also expects the locations that were put into operation during 2013 to significantly increase production. Therefore, Sommer anticipates a growth in the 'high single-digit percentage range' as well as a further improvement in terms of the result. The technology company expects approximately 2 000 jobs to be created worldwide and a quarter of them to be located in Germany.