Baar, Switzerland - Swiss belting, flooring and adhesives group Forbo achieved record net sales in 2007 of CHF 2004 million ($2004 million), an increase of 6.6 percent, or CHF 124.5 million, over sales for the previous year.
Organic growth accounted for 4.7 percent and exchange rate factors for 1.9 percent of the increase, the group said. Operating profit (EBIT) rose to CHF 162.4 million, up 48.2 percent compared to 2006.
Net income increased to CHF 110.7 million, 80.9 percent higher than the previous year. "This is the best result ever achieved in the history of Forbo," said a company statement.
One of Forbo's three main divisions is conveyor belting, where its Forbo Siegling business makes speciality belts for light materials handling. Polyurethane impregnated and coated types are widely used in the food-handling sector, for example.
The group has two other divisions - adhesives and flooring - and all three divisions "reported significantly higher margins owing to profitable, organic growth and to the continuous focus on high-margin products, combined with effective measures to increase productivity," the company said.
Forbo's belting or 'Movement Systems' business grew net sales in 2007 by 6.1 percent to CHF 375.9 million, and the "robust health of the OEM plant engineering market again contributed to positive growth particularly in Europe," said the group.
Towards the end of the year, the North American economy slowed, but this was offset by major projects for the division, Forbo said. The division more than doubled operating profit (EBIT) to CHF 28.0 million.
Forbo's Flooring Systems division had net sales of CHF 864.4 million in 2007, an increase of 8.8 percent over 2006, while its EBIT of CHF 94.9 million represented a 47 percent rise over EBIT the previous year. Meanwhile its Bonding Systems business increased net sales in 2007 to CHF 763.7 million, or by 4.5 percent, with EBIT of CHF 53.7 million, a 19.6-percent increase over that in 2006.
Forbo said it assumes that the economic situation will weaken in 2008. Nevertheless, the group said it is "guardedly optimistic since it is well placed, with its new products and services plus further efficiency gains, to more than offset the negative impact."