Schaan (FL), March 15, 2019 – The Hilti Group continued to increase its investments in 2018 and in a positive market environment again recorded double-digit growth. Group sales increased by 10.7 percent to CHF 5.6 billion. In local currencies, sales grew by 9.8 percent. Operating profit increased by 7 percent to CHF 728 million.

«2018 was a dynamic and important year for us. We used our strong financial position and the continuing positive market environment for significant investments for the future. We invested more than ever before and continued the consistent implementation of our Champion 2020 strategy», as CEO Christoph Loos summarizes 2018.

Hilti again achieved growth in all regions of the world. North America and Europe grew at a double-digit rate (10.4% and 10.6%, respectively, in local currencies). Latin America increased significantly at 8.6%, although the main markets there were affected by political uncertainties. The region Eastern Europe / Middle East / Africa also saw strong growth (+9.3%). Here political tensions negatively affected the business, in particular in Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In Asia Pacific, growth increased 7 percent, but remained behind expectations. Currency effects, in particular the slightly positive euro, added 0.9 percentage points to the sales in Swiss Francs.

Significant investments in innovation, market reach and infrastructure strengthened the foundation for long-term profitable growth. R&D spending increased by 14 percent to CHF 355 million. 1000 colleagues joined the sales team and overall there were 29,004 employees (+8%) at the end of 2018.

In spite of the high investments, operating profit increased by 7 percent to CHF 728 million. Net income increased by 5 percent to CHF 546 million. Both return on sales (12.9%) and return on capital employed (20.6%) remained at a high level. Free cash flow was at CHF 245 million. With an equity ratio of 55 percent and liquidity of over CHF 1 billion, the Hilti Group balance sheet remains strong.

«We are pleased with our annual results, which are within our expectations. We are confident in the current focus of the company and have therefore decided to extend the timeline of our Champion 2020 strategy by two to three years. Within this timeframe, we will continue our investments into digitalizing and modernizing the company», as CEO Christoph Loos explains the future plans.

Due to the reduction in the dynamic of the global economy and ongoing trade tensions, the Hilti Group sees a more challenging environment and lower market growth for the current business year. As a result, sales and operating profit are expected to increase in the range of medium to high single digits.

The 2018 Company Report and the 2018 Financial Report are available here.