Germany’s Fuchs Petrolub SE, the world’s largest independent lubricant manufacturer, said sales revenues for 2015 exceeded EUR 2 billion (USD 2.25 billion) for the first time, increasing by 11% year-on-year, driven by the acquisition of Pentosin and Statoil Fuel & Retail Lubricants and reinforced by positive currency translation effects. Fuchs said it was able to finance these acquisitions entirely from free cash flow, which was EUR 62 million (USD 69.83 million ). Organic sales growth was 0.3%, the company said.
Company earnings before interest and taxes rose 9% year-on-year to EUR 342 million (USD 385.20 million), its best ever earnings.
Despite these two acquisitions, Europe’s growth lagged behind the other regions at 10%. Nonetheless, the region showed the strongest organic growth, with companies in this region contributing 57% of group sales revenues.
Growth in other regions was primarily due to currency translation effects due to the weaker Euro, the company said. Asia-Pacific and Africa recorded the highest growth at 13%, while North and South America grew by 12%.
A total of EUR 50 million (USD 56.32 million) were invested during the reporting period, primarily at locations in Germany, the U.S. and Australia. The focus of capital expenditure was on expanding and modernizing existing facilities. In Germany, investments were in particular made in a new test field, tank storage facilities, laboratories, as well as the roll-out of SAP software at a subsidiary. In the U.S.A., the modernization of the Harvey site near Chicago was continued and construction of a specialty grease factory commenced. In Australia, the purchase of land in Newcastle means that construction of the new facility can now go ahead.
At the end of the year, Fuchs Petrolub’s headcount was at 4,823 employees, posting a 17% increase year-on-year. The number of employees in Asia-Pacific and Africa was flat, while Europe added 663 (26%) new employees. A huge part of the increase in Europe can be attributed to acquisitions in Germany (145), Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe (478) and Brazil (26). In North and South America, the number of employees increased by 46 (9%) compared to December 31, 2014.
Fuchs Petrolub said it expects sales revenue to continue to grow in the range of 7% to 11% before currency effects.