Austrian-based fittings manufacturer Blum has reported increased sales over its past financial year, but expressed “deep concerns” over growing national interests and uncertainty thrown up by the Brexit process.
Revenue for the year ended June 30 was up 2.8% to €1.8 billion (£1.59bn), with the EU contributing almost 50% of that turnover.
The company said the upswing in the Russian market was “particularly pleasing”, but said the strength of the euro weighed on sales in America and the Pacific region over the past 12 months.
Revenue in the USA contributed 15% of annual turnover.
“Our success is mainly due to the high performance of our team worldwide and the excellent collaboration between all our departments and organisations,” said managing director Gerhard Blum.
On average, the fittings manufacturer employs 7,509 people worldwide, with 368 employees joining this year. The company said 94 apprentices – of which 14 are female – will start a technical course of training with Blum Austria on September 1.
This will bring the total number of apprentices trained by Blum to 361.
Investments made by the Blum group totalled €216 million (£190.5) over the financial year.
But expectations for future growth were mooted over the “uncertainty” created by the unknown future of the EU and how US President Trump’s trade war will pan out.
The Blum MD said: “We will approach the new business year with restrained optimism. There are many question marks and there is a great deal of uncertainty about future developments.
“On the one hand, the Brexit process in Europe has still not been clarified and it is uncertain what direction the EU should take. On the other hand, we are deeply concerned about growing national interests, [for] example, the mutual imposition of tariffs and an escalation of economic sanctions.”