Austrian fittings specialist Blum has increased its turnover by €48.7 million (2.6%) to €1.89 billion (£1.69bn) in the year to June 30 despite a “subdued performance” in western Europe.
Managing director Philipp Blum (pictured) said: “There are global signs of a slowdown in the dynamic growth of previous years,” citing uncertainty over Brexit in the UK and the “reignited trade conflict between the USA and China”.
But he added: “Blum will approach the new business year with restrained optimism and will focus on ongoing innovation, market development and close customer relationships.”
The company said that 48% of its sales were to Europe and 15% to the USA, although it sells through more than 120 countries worldwide. It said that the market had been positive for the past financial year in central and eastern Europe, with “satisfactory” results in the Asia Pacific region, where it achieved “good growth” year on year.
Philipp Blum also pointed to its employees as a key factor in its success. “Our employees all over the world are networked, highly motivated and work closely together across departments and national boundaries. They’re responsible for the positive development of our company,” he said.
And as proof of that, Blum increased its staff headcount by 372 to 7,383 over the year before and will be training 384 apprentices worldwide from this autumn – 363 of those at its main production site in Vorarlberg and at Blum USA.
In the 2018/19 financial year, Blum said it had invested €242m in the business. It has completed the new stamping centre in Dornbirn and an extension to its plant in Bregenz, where it also intends to add a new 49,000sq m production bay by summer 2021
The company has also extended its plant in Poland and has bought a new plot of land next to its facility in China.
Philipp Blum stressed that it was still committed to production in Austria: “We are committed to maintaining our main production site in Vorarlberg, Austria. This is where we develop and optimise our products and manufacturing procedures in our eight plants. In addition, we establish production facilities in markets where there is sufficient demand for our products and where it is logistically sensible to do so. We set up a local production plant in the USA 40 years ago. We have a similar situation in China today.”