Bosch Says 2012 Growth Slowed by Cooling Global Economy

Diversified manufacturer misses sales target, expects modest improvement in 2013

FRANKFURT -- German manufacturer Bosch said on Wednesday the world economic slump slammed the brakes on business last year and may choke its performance this year too.

Bosch said in a statement it missed its 2012 target for a 3% to 5% increase in sales last year, with revenues edging up only 1.6% to 52.3 billion euros (US$69.7 billion).

Bosch, which is not listed on the stock exchange, gave no concrete profit figures, but said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to "around 2% of sales."

That would be about 1.05 billion euros, according to AFP calculations, which is less than half the year-earlier figure of 2.6 billion euros.

"The cooling global economy has slowed the pace of growth of the Bosch group," said Chairman Volkmar Denner.

Photovoltaics Business Stresses Earnings

"Subdued sales developments, as well as a likely 1 billion euros of impairments and losses in the difficult photovoltaics business, had a significant effect on the earnings situation," Denner said.

"Despite slightly increased sales and positive free cash flow, we cannot be satisfied with developments in the business year 2012," he added.

Bosch said all of its business sectors had been affected by the global slowdown.

And the outlook for growth this year was "modest."

"According to our current estimates, we expects global gross domestic product to grow 2.8% in 2013. However, there are considerable risks, in particular the European sovereign debt crisis, which are not factored into this forecast," Bosch said.

"On the basis of these expectations, the Bosch group anticipates that its year-on-year sales growth will be slightly better, but not strong, in 2013," it said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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