Environment for the construction industry will remain difficult
Hopes for a moderate global economic upturn have been dampened in recent months, which is expected to directly impact the construction industry. The challenges in this sector remain complex and, viewed from today’s perspective, are expected to become even more pronounced in the medium term. The individual regions/markets and construction sectors are developing very differently. In Europe, volumes in the construction industry are continuing to contract overall. With the exception of a few markets such as Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Poland which are developing positively, no recovery is in sight in most other markets, and markets such as Italy and France are expected to see further falls in demand. Non-residential construction is failing to recover, but this is at least partially being compensated by a flat to slightly positive trend in residential construction. In North America, the indicators in public construction projects are currently not pointing to a recovery on a relevant scale, which will significantly affect the Geberit business in this market. In residential construction, signs are pointing to a slowdown in growth. In the Far East/Pacific region, China has seen a decrease in the sale of homes, the number of new construction projects and residential property prices; the construction industry overall is showing a downward trend. The outlook for the Middle East and South Africa remain positive.
The Geberit Group’s 2015 business year will be dominated by the integration of Sanitec’s activities. The primary aim is to ensure that the two entities are joined in the smoothest possible manner without destroying value while at the same time creating a solid basis for a successful future. Just as important is the focus on the existing Geberit business, which is expected to be a challenging undertaking once again owing to the tense situation in the majority of the European construction markets. The objective, not only in the few markets that are healthy but also in the large number of markets that are shrinking, is to provide a convincing performance and to continue to gain market shares as in previous years. The focus will fall on the concerted marketing of the new products introduced in recent years, the more intense penetration of new markets and on the very promising shower toilet business. In line with the Geberit strategy, these measures will be accompanied by efforts to further optimize business processes. With regard to the impact of foreign currency effects, please refer to the information and the sensitivity analysis in the Results section.
The management is convinced of being very well prepared for the upcoming tasks and will confidently meet the challenges in the new framework involving Sanitec. The opportunities offered as a result of combining technical know-how in sanitary technology “behind the wall” and design expertise “in front of the wall” will be firmly seized. With experienced and highly motivated employees at both Geberit and Sanitec, a number of promising products that have been launched in recent years and product ideas for the more distant future, a lean and market-oriented organization, an established cooperation based on trust with our market partners in both commerce and trade and – as a result of our industry leadership in terms of financial results in recent years – the Group’s continued solid financial foundation following the acquisition of Sanitec, the future looks bright.