At some EUR5.9billion, Bosch Rexroth AG reports that its sales for 2008 were up 9.8 per cent on the previous year. The subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH anticipates a significantly weaker performance for the current fiscal year. However, Bosch Rexroth wants to safeguard as many jobs among its core workforce as it possibly can. The company is maintaining investment in research and development at above the average industry level. Bosch Rexroth says it is using its innovative capacity to expand further its position as a leading automation partner for industrial applications, factory automation, mobile applications and the utilization of renewable energies.
The growth experienced in 2008 was driven by developments in the German, European and Asian markets. Speaking at the annual press conference in Frankfurt, Dr Albert Hieronimus, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG (pictured right), stated: "Despite some shortages in terms of raw materials and key semi-finished products, our associates worked to the limits of capacity during the first six months of the year showing great commitment and working numerous additional shifts." The company achieved the most pronounced growth levels with products and systems in the areas of mobile and industrial hydraulics. Gearboxes and drives for wind energy plants recorded the highest rates of growth.
In common with other companies, Bosch Rexroth has been finding trading conditions tough since the second half of 2008 and expects to see a decline in sales during 2009. The removal of stable planning foundations makes it difficult to predict business performance in the short and medium term. Hieronimus said: "That is why we are taking things one day at a time, as are most of our customers." However, he went on to emphasise that "the long-term growth trend in our markets remains intact." He also said that the expertise of Bosch Rexroth associates is a competitive edge that defies imitation, which is why the company is doing everything it can to safeguard its core workforce even in these turbulent times. To this end, the company is exploiting all the tools it has at its disposal in the fight against job losses, such as the regulations of the collective agreement on employment protection relating to the reduction of normal weekly working hours, or short-time working. At the end of 2008, the company employed 35,300 associates, 18,700 of which were in Germany.
Bosch Rexroth also envisages positive developments during the current fiscal year, especially as the company is represented in all phases of the value addition chain in the global economy and can therefore exploit all market opportunities for growth. Hieronimus commented: "The global push to expand facilities for generating renewable forms of energy is having a stimulating effect on our business." Bosch Rexroth is increasing its production capacities for wind power gearboxes with a new plant in Nuremberg and the expansion of production at the Chinese site in Beijing. The American, Chinese and Indian governments are all promoting the rapid expansion of wind power plants to protect themselves from rising energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions. Bosch Rexroth intends to participate in this market growth by providing the markets with gearboxes and drives.
Pressure to rationalize is also increasing in all industries. This is boosting demand for innovative automation products and systems. Hieronimus stated: "Our customers are currently developing new machinery and plant concepts. We are gearing up for precisely this demand with innovations and consistently high-level investment in research and development." The Bosch subsidiary spent around EUR260million on research and development in 2008. This represents 4.5 per cent of turnover, which is above the average for the sector, as in previous years. Around 2200 specialists at Bosch Rexroth are working on new products, systems and services.