2017 was a year when all three industry groups delivered growth. Tetra Laval Group’s net sales amounted to €13.9 billion, a nominal increase of about 1 per cent compared to 2016. At comparable rates, sales increased by 1.7 per cent. The reason for the increased sales was that both capital equipment sales and service sales grew for all industry groups. Driving factors were increased demand and an attractive customer offering. However, the strengthening of the euro versus the USD negatively impacted sales. Operating profit improved in absolute terms and remained unchanged in relative terms. The main contributor was sales growth, as well as the on-going transformation programmes in all industry groups that made significant contributions. I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated personnel for their outstanding achievements during the year.
Total sales of Tetra Pak grew 0.5 per cent in a challenging market. Growth of capital equipment sales in both Packaging and Processing contributed with 14 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. Service sales success of recent years continued with a growth rate of about 6 per cent. Profitability grew in line with sales. Packaging material sales declined slightly due to competitive pressure and macro-economic instability, particularly in the Greater Middle East. The number of packages sold globally amounted to 188 billion in 2017.
The successful deployment of new packaging formats continued. Around half of the packages now sold by Tetra Pak come from its advanced portfolio, with attractive looks and excellent functionality boosting consumer appreciation.
Order intake grew by 10 per cent and net sales by 5 per cent for DeLaval. The improvement of milk prices that occurred in 2016 continued during 2017, enabling double-digit growth in order intake for capital equipment and mid-single-digit aftermarket growth. As a consequence of the strong order intake, DeLaval entered 2018 with a solid backlog. The strongest demand was in robotic milking, which experienced a broad-based increase. Animal Health and Milk Quality had a similar development. The improved profitability was attributable to the on-going transformation programme as well as increased sales.
For Sidel, order intake increased by 3 per cent thanks to improved market share in a slightly declining market for PET equipment as well as continued growth in service. Profitability also improved, but is still not at the target level. The improvement is explained by cost reductions from the current transformation programme. A large number of important product launches and innovations were presented at the Drinktec exhibition and they were very well received. The SuperCombi® launch is a milestone for Sidel, reducing floor space requirements and providing more efficient PET-line operation. The new can and glass fillers are other highlights that created a lot of interest.
Read more on Comments by the chairman of the Tetra Laval board