German auto supplier ZF posts record sales; vows to invest more in R&D
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ZF Friedrichshafen AG ended the fiscal year 2017 with record sales of US$ 45 billion boosted in part by transmission sales, which represented a nominal increase of 3.6%. When adjusted for exchange rate effects, as well as mergers and acquisitions activities, organic sales growth is 6%.
Next year the Germany-based Tier 1 automotive supplier expects sales of around US$ 45.15 billion, the company said.
“Our extremely efficient automatic passenger car transmissions contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. They are therefore a key component in attaining the European limit targets and global climate targets, and are in high demand. Combined with the highly integrated electric motor, this technology still features great growth potential,” said CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider.
Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased from US$ 2.72 billion to US$ 2.85 billion with adjusted EBIT margin being equal to the previous year’s, at 6.4%.
The company said research and development costs for electric and autonomous cars technology would remain at high levels after it reached US$ 2.72 billion in 2017, an increase of almost 15% compared to 2016.
“This year, significantly more than 2 billion euros is set to be channeled into development work around the world, with the aim of advancing electric drives and the hybridization of transmission technology as well as vehicle safety systems and automated driving,” Scheider said.
It added it was building two new factories for electric drive components.
The headcount for the ZF Group was 146,148 on December 31, 2017, up from 136,820 the same day of 2016. Additional posts were created mainly in China, Mexico, Portugal, the USA and Germany, most of them within the Active & Passive Safety Technology, E-Mobility, Car Chassis Technology and Car Powertrain Technology Divisions. Of these, around 1,700 worldwide were attributed to research and development alone.
ZF Group operates 12 manufacturing facilities in Mexico that build all kinds of auto components from sensors and seatbelts to powertrain control modules, brakes, steering and chassis parts, as well as fully integrated suspensions.