The German-based company highlighted China as a vital growth market for both its food and pharmaceutical divisions as it launched a range of systems into the Chinese sector for the first time at the ProPak trade show currently taking place in Shanghai.
Bosch declared that its 2009 sales of €675m had only experienced a drop of four per cent in sales compared to the previous year.
Food and confectionery segments were particularly affected in the first part of the period, although they recovered in the second half of the year. However, the performance of its pharmaceutical division was almost untouched.
“Despite the economic downturn we have been able to stand our ground in the global marketplace,” said Friedbert Klefenz, Bosch Packaging Technology president. “As expected, the difficult economic conditions impacted on our sales development in 2009.
During the first few months of the year, this concerned primarily the food and confectionery sectors. In the second half of the year, however, an upward trend emerged. Moreover, pharma and services were largely unaffected by the crisis. For these divisions, order levels remained high.”
The company said keeping costs down and its policy of internationalisation had been key in its 2009 performance with 86 per cent of its packaging business realised outside of Germany. Unsurprisingly, its strongest market remains Europe – including Eastern Europe - at 50 per cent, with North America next, accounting for almost half that amount.
However, Klefenz, hailed the performance in Asia which was responsible for a fifth of the company’s total sales “with a clear tendency towards further growth”. Last year, the region experienced the strongest growth for order intake – with the pharma sector in China especially buoyant.
Pharmaceuticals account for 50 per cent of all the company’s orders, followed by food on 35 per cent and confectionery on 14 per cent.
The Bosch president also forecast further overall growth for the company this year by inflating its international presence.
“For 2010, we are expecting further growth in our core areas of pharma, food and confectionery, mainly by expanding our global presence and thereby widening our customer base,” he said.
Importance of China
The company said China was its most important growth sector in all the emerging markets. It has doubled its production capacity at its recently expanded 9,000 sq metre-Hangzhou plant – which serves the local market for “cost-effective by high quality” products. There is also a rising demand for complex, high-performance installations which are produced with the support of Bosch's European operations. The supply of automation technology solutions to the emerging markets is also showing a steady increase, added a statement from the firm.