Endress+Hauser experienced strong growth across all regions, sectors and product areas in 2018. The ongoing digitalization of the industry and positive development on the international markets provided impetus. The Group increased sales and profits, invested heavily and created hundreds of jobs worldwide.
“The bottom line is, 2018 was a good year for Endress+Hauser worldwide,” explained CEO Matthias Altendorf at the Group’s annual media conference in Basel. The Group increased net sales by 9.5 percent to 2.455 billion euros, despite facing strong headwinds from foreign exchange rates. Expressed in local currencies, sales grew by 12.7 percent.
US moves to number one
The business was bolstered by a strong economy in the process automation sector. Continued high demand from private consumers, as well as recovering oil and raw material prices, contributed to the solid growth. After years of somewhat restrained investment activity, large-scale projects made a return. According to Chief Financial Officer Dr Luc Schultheiss, Endress+Hauser’s performance “exceeded the industry average.”
The firm made excellent progress in Europe. Business was dynamic even in Africa and the Middle East as well as in the Asia-Pacific region. The strongest growth was seen in the Americas, however. “After 65 years, the US replaced Germany as our largest sales market,” reported Matthias Altendorf. China also grew at a double-digit pace. “If this trend continues, China could soon take over the top spot,” added the CEO.
Profits rise sharply
Foreign exchange rate fluctuations not only slowed down sales growth, but also stifled cost structures, despite notable cost increases on the materials side. Operating profit (EBIT) increased by 31.4 percent to 330.6 million euros. Even though no one-off income was recognized in 2018, in contrast to the prior year, profit before taxes (EBT) still rose by 14.6 percent to 315.7 million euros. Return on sales (ROS) climbed 0.6 points to 12.9 percent.
Net income rose by 11.2 percent to 232.5 million euros, which reflects an effective tax rate of 26.4 percent which increased over the prior year due to a change in the composition of the profit. The equity ratio reached 71 percent, an increase of 0.8 points. The Group has no considerable bank liabilities.
Innovations for the digital age
Endress+Hauser’s growth was fueled by a wealth of innovations. The company brought 54 new products to the market last year. Research and development expenses climbed to 184.2 million euros, representing 7.5 percent of sales. The company filed 287 initial patents in 2018. At the end of the year, Endress+Hauser held nearly 7,800 patents and other intellectual property rights.
About one-third of the new patents were related to the IIoT, digital communications, diagnostics and electronics. “Digitalization is penetrating all areas,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf. Apart from 1,000 developers active in the Group’s centers of competence, various start-ups established by the Group are also busy working on products, solutions and services for the digital age. Endress+Hauser is furthermore collaborating closely with industry partners such as software specialist SAP.
A further driver of growth was process analysis. “The optical analyzer business performed extremely well,” said Matthias Altendorf. Endress+Hauser established a European support center for advanced analyzers in Lyon, France. The network of sales specialists in this area is growing in Europe. The CEO is hoping for additional impulses to spur this business area.
Hundreds of new jobs
The positive development was reflected in the creation of numerous jobs. At the end of 2018, Endress+Hauser had a global workforce of 13,928, an increase of 629 over the prior year. Hiring was especially strong in production and production-related areas, as well as in the service units. The company created 200 new jobs in the Basel region alone.
The company invested nearly 750 million euros within a five-year period, “all of which the company financed through its own funds,” as CFO Luc Schultheiss pointed out. In 2018, 158.6 million euros flowed into buildings, machinery and IT. The two largest projects involve the expansion of the plants in Reinach, Switzerland and Maulburg, Germany. The Group is also undertaking a large project in the US that will bundle the Gulf region sales, service and support organizations in Houston, Texas.
Top sustainability ranking
“As a family-owned company, sustainable development is important to us,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf. One of the strategic indicators is the annual EcoVadis benchmark, which assesses companies with respect to sustainability. In 2018 Endress+Hauser continued to improve, scoring 68 out of a possible 100 points to place in the top 5 percent of its comparison group. Endress+Hauser plans to use the EcoVadis platform to eventually evaluate its own suppliers.
“We feel it’s important for the future of Endress-Hauser to continue to have members of the shareholder family work at the company,” emphasized Klaus Endress, President of the Supervisory Board. “This strengthens the bonds between the family and the company.” A decision was thus made to allow members of the family to work at all levels within the company. The Family Charter provides clear guidelines; candidates who choose this path will receive close support from the Family Council.
Continued solid growth
Endress+Hauser got off to a good start in 2019. Incoming orders and net sales for the Group are tracking well above prior year levels. The company nonetheless expects this trend to cool off in the second half of the year. “We are still anticipating solid growth in the mid-single-digit range,” said Luc Schultheiss. According to the CFO, the company plans to invest 260 million euros this year, and assuming the business continues to perform well, 500 new jobs will be created worldwide.
Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation News Plant Construction, Engineering & Components
Expansion of the Lyon location
Expertise for advanced analysis
Endress + Hauser has expanded its center of competence for advanced analysis in Lyon, France. The Group invested 2 million euros in a new production facility and office space to meet the growing demand in the area of advanced process analyses.
From Lyon, around 20 employees support Endress + Hauser sales centers across Europe in the application and sales of advanced analysis technology, with a focus on the project business and after-sales services. Ten sales centers across Europe already have specialists on board to handle this complex field of activity.
The new 630-square-meter production facility will be used for customer-specific manufacturing and the assembly of complete analysis systems. Rounding out the facility are offices, rooms for factory acceptance tests and space reserved for future use. The adjacent 1,500-square-meter office building, which opened in 2017, is also home to the Endress + Hauser France regional sales office. With a total of 7,000 square meters, the property offers sufficient space to grow the location even further.
“The expansion of the Lyon location allows us to do an even better job of bringing our expertise in the field of process analysis to our customers,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress + Hauser Group, during the dedication ceremony on 17 July 2019. “This is an important strategic goal for us and helps our customers acquire more information from their processes.”
Analysis portfolio expands
Advanced analysis provides immediate information related to material properties and product quality. The company continuously develops its analysis portfolio to provide online monitoring of quality parameters, for example through spectroscopic techniques. This allows customers to reduce time to market and optimize their processes. Customers in industries such as life sciences, chemical, food & beverage and oil & gas can benefit the most from Endress + Hauser’s advanced analysis portfolio.
The Lyon location combines the expertise of the firm and its subsidiaries Kaiser Optical Systems and SpectraSensors under one roof. The Raman analyzers from Kaiser Optical Systems are used to examine the composition and material properties of liquids, gases and solids and enable the real-time measurement of product characteristics. SpectraSensors is a leader in the field of TDLAS technology, which can be used to reliably measure trace-level concentrations of gases.
New clutch generation
Compact industrial barcode printer
Top drawer label printers
Space-saving footprint like a desktop printer due to downsized dimensions, but powerful as an industrial printer – TSC’s new ML240P series covers exactly the niche of high demand in the market. Both versatile top-class all-rounders impress with their strong connectivity features and excellent printing quality while being extremely economical and flexible. The two models are equipped with a clear colour display ensuring a high operating comfort.
The thermal transfer printers ML240P and ML340P will be available on the EMEA market from June 2019. In comparison to the already very compact TSC models in this sector the dimensions of this new generation of high-performance industrial label printers have been reduced again significantly.
The intelligent combination of solid metal housing including media spindle, modularized base and modern printing technology enables a permanently steady, low-noise and at the same time highly efficient operation even with demanding applications. The adjustable longlife thermal printhead and self-diagnostic TPH Care mechanism ensure optimal print quality with various label materials. Bad dot detection offers the user peace of mind by alerting them to any pins in the head which might have blown – which otherwise would repeatedly produce unreadable barcodes without any way of noticing before it came to scanning.
The ML240P is available in 203 dpi printing resolution, the ML340P is available in strong 300 dpi printing resolution. Besides comprehensive sensors and modern interfaces, both models in particular also provide the user with a high definition 2.3” colour display with intuitive, customizable operator guidance and six menue buttons as prominent standard features.
Material changes can be realized quickly because the cover can be lifted up entirely. Due to the sophisticated printing mechanism the replacement of printhead and platen roller is possible without the need of tools, saving time and reducing cost of ownership.
With their small footprint of just 818 cm² the new reliable printers can also be used in restricted working environments where space is a premium. The range of applications is not limited for the ML models: The spectrum ranges from use in warehousing and logistics including goods in and despatch to manufacturing as well as to product- and shelf-labelling in retail and labelling of sample tubes and patient wristbands in the health sector.