Speaking at the Anuga FoodTec trade show in Cologne, Germany, Klefenz based his forecast on record order levels at the end of last year. By December, the value of orders had reached £744M (€894M) – 14% up on the previous year.
Last year, overall sales reached £658.2M (€791M) – up 10% on the previous year – with deliveries outside Germany accounting for 87% of the total. “We have grown by more than twice as fast as the segment of the market relevant to us [which had increased by 4%],” said Klefenz.
Sales were boosted last year by the acquisition of the UK pharmaceutical packaging firm Manesty and the German company Huttlin.
“In the pharmaceutical and food industries, orders for packaging machines are less dependent on economic fluctuations than in other areas of engineering,” said Klefenz. “This is confirmed by the stable development of our order intake, which has continued over the first months of the year.”
In Europe, Klefenz described the competition for packaging machinery sales as “cut throat”. He added: “Customers tend to make purchasing decisions when they are introducing new products and new packaging materials. Or when they need to update their technology in order to maintain their costs at current levels.”
Klefenz said the growth in the established markets of western Europe and North America was “mildly positive” at between 4–5%.
But the largest potential lay in Asia, particularly China, Latin America and South Africa, he said. The Latin American market was growing at the rate of 15–18% a year compared with China which was growing at more than 20% a year.
At the end of last year Bosch opened a packaging production plant in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in central China. “We will use the new location to create additional capacity because our existing facility [at Hangzhou in the east of the country] will reach its limit within the next two years,” said Klefenz.
“Customers want machines capable of packing products faster while saving more space and energy and achieving even shorter change-over times,” he added. “In this regard, Chinese development mirrors what we have seen elsewhere – particularly in Europe.”
Bosch also identified “large market potential” in Africa. “This is why we are the first major supplier of packaging machines with an own assembly location in South Africa,” said Klefenz.
There will be more news, in text articles and podcasts, from Anuga later this week.