The Swiss Bossard Group continues on its growth track: In the third quarter, the fastening technology specialist generated sales of CHF 212.7 million, a 9.3 % jump over the same quarter in 2017. In the first nine months of the 2018 fiscal year, Bossard boosted sales by 11.8 % to CHF 659.0 million. Growth did slow somewhat in Europe and Asia compared with the second quarter of 2018. In contrast, growth in the America business was vigorous, partly due to increased demand from the largest US electric vehicle manufacturer.
Third quarter performance in Europe did not seamlessly build on the growth recorded in the previous two quarters. In Europe, we posted a 5.7 % increase to CHF 117.6 million (+4.0 % in local currency). Nonetheless, overall growth for the first nine months of 2018 was still in the double-digit range. Sales rose by 13.0 % to CHF 378.1 million (+8.7 % in local currency). The reasons for slower growth in Europe are manifold.
Some customers are operating at full capacity, which reduces the potential for above-aver- age growth. A certain base effect is also a factor: The basis for comparison – the third quarter of 2017 – was already at a high level. Finally, the strengthening Swiss franc narrowed sales.
New momentum in the America business
The Bossard Group’s America business was substantially stronger. Sales between July and September grew by a healthy 16.2 % to CHF 60.4 million (+14.8 % in local currency). This represents an increase of 8.2 % to CHF 179.9 million in the first nine months of the current fiscal year (+9.5 % in local currency). This accelerated growth is driven by business with the largest US electric vehicle manufacturer, whose third model series resulted in a considerable boost in production.
Solid growth in the Asia business
In Asia, third quarter sales rose 10.9 % to CHF 34.7 million (+7.8 % in local currency). In the first nine months of this fiscal year, the Asia market region contributed greatly to the Group’s solid performance, with sales increasing by 13.7 % to CHF 101.0 mil- lion (+11.3 % in local currency). However, demand in the Asian markets did appear to be normalizing somewhat after the extraordinary high growth rates we witnessed in the previous quarters.
Demand normalizing at a high level
Indications from our customers as well as the purchasing managers’ indices in our key markets point to continued economic expansion. Bossard therefore expects fourth quarter sales to be at a high level. However, in comparison with the very strong corresponding quarter last year at lower growth rates than year-to-date. Many customers are operating at full capacity, which is another factor in normalizing growth rates, especially in Europe. The appreciation of the Swiss franc in recent weeks will also hamper growth in the reporting currency through the end of the year. With business conditions changing compared to the first half of the year, Bossard is targeting sales on the order of CHF 865 million (2017: CHF 786.2 mil- lion) for the fiscal year 2018.
The Bossard Group is a leading international supplier of product solutions and services in industrial fastener and assembly technology. With its comprehensive product range of over one million items, combined with its proven expertise in technical consulting (engineering) and inventory management (logistics), Bossard is one of the established companies in the industry, both as an end-to-end supplier and a partner. In addition, Bossard is a pioneer in developing intelligent production facilities in line with Industry 4.0.
The Group’s customers include local and international industrial companies who use Bossard solutions to improve their productivity. With 2,300 employees in 80 locations throughout the world, the Group generated CHF 786.2 million in sales in 2017. Bossard is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.