ZF Group sees more success and growth

ZF Group sees more success and growth

STUTTGART: Germany’s ZF Group recorded a 9% sales growth and a more than one-third increase in earnings in 2014.

Last year, ZF also created almost 3,200 new jobs worldwide – an increase of 5% to 71,402 employees.

In 2014, the technology company generated sales of EUR 18.4 billion (RM74.2 billion), which once again is above the industry average.

It also improved profitability, with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rising more than one-third to about EUR 1.1 billion (RM4.43 billion).

The main growth driver was business with automatic passenger car transmissions and axle systems.

“The 8-speed automatic transmission, whose second generation we launched last year, has been especially popular among customers,” said ZF’s chief executive officer Dr Stefan Sommer.

ZF Group sees more success and growth

ZF’s chief executive officer Dr Stefan Sommer.

As a result of the strong demand for ZF products, the company once again invested about EUR 1 billion (RM4.03 billion) in property, plant, and equipment last year; an amount that considerably exceeds depreciation.

The Engineering Center in Shanghai, for instance, is being expanded on a massive scale; a new test center for transmissions is being built in Friedrichshafen, the headquarters of corporate research and development at the ZF Group.

Last year, ZF spent EUR 891 million (RM3.59 billion) on research and development (R&D), which is 7% more compared to the previous year.

This means that ZF has once again reached the target figure of 5% of sales for R&D.

With more than 860 patent applications, the company was again ranked among the top 10 innovators in Germany.

ZF Group sees more success and growth

8-speed automatic transmission from ZF.

Meanwhile, the most milestone for ZF last year was the group’s merger deal with Livonia, Michigan-headquartered TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.

In global terms, this merger which is due to be completed in the first half of 2015, will create a new giant in the automotive supplier industry.

The merged companies will have total annual sales of about EUR 30 billion (RM120.9 billion) and 138,000 employees.

With the merger, sales for the ZF Group will more than double in China and the United States, the two largest automotive markets in the world.

“As a result, customers of ZF and TRW will have access to a broad product portfolio from a single source that will offer future mobility solutions in both driveline and chassis technology as well as safety and assistance systems,” said Sommer.

“ZF set an important strategic course in 2014,” emphasised Sommer.

“Other important steps included the founding of two new joint ventures in China: one with automotive manufacturer BAIC in the passenger car chassis sector and the other one with tractor manufacturer YTO in the agricultural machinery sector,” he added.

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