Bosch Rexroth has successfully completed the 2021 fiscal year despite persistently difficult conditions: Order intake rose by 44 percent to 7.5 billion euros, sales by 20 percent to 6.2 billion. The number of employees grew by 4.7 percent to around 31,100 worldwide.
In the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has thus returned to pre-crisis levels. "Despite the pandemic and economic challenges, we succeeded in increasing sales and reliably supplying our customers," emphasises Rolf Najork, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH with responsibility for industrial technology and chairman of the board of management of Bosch Rexroth AG. "In terms of incoming orders, we have achieved an all-time high."
Sales growth for 2021 was fed by significant double-digit growth rates in all regions of the world. Bosch Rexroth recorded the largest increase compared to last year in Europe outside Germany, at 23.5 percent. Sales there totalled around 2 billion euros. In Germany, sales rose by 18.2 percent to 1.3 billion euros. In North and South America, sales rose by 18.3 percent to 1.1 billion euros, and in Asia by 15.9 percent to 1.8 billion euros. Overall, turnover of 6.2 billion euros is thus back at the level of 2019, the year before the pandemic began.
Bosch Rexroth achieved 7.5 billion euros in incoming orders. This is around 800 million euros more than the comparable peak figure for 2018. Compared with the previous year, Bosch Rexroth increased its order intake volume by 43.1 percent. The growth accelerated over the course of the year, especially in the fourth quarter. The strong order intake offers potential for further growth. The high-volume hydraulics business showed strong demand, and factory automation activities also grew strongly.
A total of 344 million euros was spent on research and development - an increase of 5.8 per cent. The main focus was on the electrification of mobile machinery, in factory automation the portfolio based on the automation platform "ctrlX Automation" and integrated axis systems in the field of industrial hydraulics.
The company spent around 180 million euros on its international production network, 78.2 per cent more than in the previous year. The investments went primarily into optimising, expanding and renewing production capacities in Germany, Turkey, China and Italy. The medium-term planning continues to provide for significant investments in production and logistics. "With our extensive investments and development activities, we want to increase our competitiveness, enable further growth and secure attractive jobs," explains Rolf Najork.
The Bosch Rexroth team grew worldwide in 2021 by around 1400 associates, or 4.7 percent, to a current total of around 31,100, primarily due to high capacity utilisation in manufacturing. The highest absolute growth was in Germany (+410 associates, or 3 percent). Proportionally, the workforce in North and South America grew the most (+15.5 percent or 384 associates). Bosch Rexroth continues to have a strong demand for skilled workers, especially for jobs in factory automation, production-related areas and software development, as well as sales engineers.
Sustainability plays a major role not only in the innovations in the product portfolio. Bosch Rexroth's 47 production sites have been climate-neutral since 2020. In a further step, the company is reducing indirect CO₂ emissions along the entire product life cycle. This includes the consumption of raw materials, emissions from the manufacture of preliminary products by suppliers and the actual use of the product. The goal is to reduce CO₂ emissions along the supply chain by 15 percent by 2030.
"We are fundamentally optimistic about the future and anticipate further significant sales growth - but the war in Ukraine and the Corona pandemic, which has still not been overcome, are clearly factors of uncertainty because of their global impact," says Rolf Najork. "The safety of our teams worldwide is always our top priority. We maintain intensive contact with our customers both digitally and in person - for example, at our new Customer and Innovation Centre in Ulm. And we do everything we can to continue to supply our customers reliably."
Bosch Rexroth is therefore continuing to adapt to the general conditions in view of the Ukraine war and the Corona pandemic. In concrete terms, for example, the development of demand is closely coordinated with customers and suppliers. To safeguard supply capability, long-term agreements are concluded where necessary and secondary suppliers are established to enable local procurement in the markets. Teams of experts continuously assess supply risks and take preventive measures. This also applies with regard to the global transport networks.
Opportunities arise, for example, from government infrastructure projects that boost demand for construction machinery. In Europe and North America, new production plants for all kinds of goods are being built in order to regionalise supply chains. Global climate protection initiatives and government measures are leading to a high demand for modernisation of installed machinery and equipment to increase energy efficiency. The digital transformation of mechanical engineering also remains a growth driver. With the "Industry 4.0 Center Asia" in Xi'an, China, the company is opening up new markets and applications in the world's largest industrial market.