SFS continues to expand its position in key application areas. Broad sales growth led to a robust sales mix in terms of regions and end markets.
Amid a positive market environment, SFS strengthened its position thanks to the success of innovative products and the first-time consolidation of HECO (Ludwig Hettich Holding GmbH & Co. KG). Trends towards more safety, energy efficiency, aesthetics and individualization are particularly important drivers of innovation for the Construction division. The divisions Riveting and D&L also expanded their market share in their construction-related business. Sales grew by 11.2% and accounted for 26.5% of total SFS Group sales.
The automotive sector’s good growth momentum over the past several years remained intact during 2018. Sales rose by 6.9% and accounted for 26.3% of consolidated sales. Vehicle electrification is driving sales growth in the Automotive division and creating new application areas for SFS, such as autonomous driving with components for the electronic driving brake and development of camera housings for sensors. Other promising innovations are in the pipeline. Judging by the stable innovation trends and the projects in the pipeline, we expect this growth trend to continue.
In the medical devices market, which contributed 6.5% of consolidated sales, SFS gained momentum as the year progressed and increased its sales in this business by 9.4%. Sales in minimally invasive and neurosurgical applications were particularly animated. At the same time, the project pipeline was developed steadily and solid sales growth in 2019 is expected.
SFS is broadly-based in terms of both end markets and geographies. Sales were stable across its various regional markets compared with the previous year.
Supported by a year-on-year increase in sales of 9.6%, Europe’s share of total Group sales rose to 41.1%. In addition to solid organic growth, this pleasing result is made up of positive consolidation and currency effects. The first-time consolidation of HECO added 3.2% to this pleasing development in Europe. In Switzerland, the positive trend of 3.8% is due to innovations and promising new customers.
The market successes in the construction, industrial and medical sectors were the sales drivers in the Americas. Sales grew by 9.3% and reached a sales share of 17.7%. In a demanding market environment, SFS succeeded in setting benchmark accents for domestic and foreign competitors, through winning significant projects in key accounts.