All regional reported higher sales and were able to further increase market share. Particularly high growth rates were achieved in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific area, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa, as well as in the automotive area.

EMEA

Reporting a sustained phase of solid growth, the eurozone countries saw positive momentum in 2017. Stable investment and export revenues, extremely low interest rates, and a dynamic global economy stimulated the majority of EU markets. Gross domestic product growth of more than 2% energized the European construction industry.

In the 2017 financial year, Sika’s sales in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa) were up by 7.5% in local currencies (previous year: 4.6%). The major EU countries with the core markets of France, Italy, and the UK recorded strong growth rates. The Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa delivered double-digit growth.

In Africa, Sika’s presence was further strengthened through the founding of a new national subsidiary in Senegal and the commencement of operations at three new factories. In both Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Douala, Cameroon, the first factories for concrete admixtures came into service, while a second factory for the local production of mortar products was established in Luanda, Angola. In Kazakhstan, concrete admixture and mortar production in Almaty was transferred to a larger site. In Russia, a new production line for PVC membranes was set up at the factory in Lobnya, near Moscow. Furthermore, manufacturing capacity was expanded at Lahore, Pakistan, with the opening of a new factory for mortar products and concrete admixtures. A new facility for the production of high-performance concrete fibers for customers in the EMEA region began operations at the Troisdorf site in Germany.

Bitbau Dörr, a leading supplier of waterproofing systems, was acquired in Austria, while ABC Sealants, a well-known manufacturer of sealants and adhesives for the interior finishing sector, was taken over in Turkey. Through the purchase of KVK Holding, which is based in the Czech capital, Prague, the Sika Group also acquired an established supplier of waterproofing and roofing systems as well as mortar products.

Brenner Base Tunnel

120,000 m² of Sikaplan® waterproofing membrane is being used in the construction of the Brenner Base Tunnel. On completion, the 55 km long tunnel between Austria and Italy will be one of the longest underground railway connections in the world.

North America

Economic growth and investment sentiment in the USA stayed strong in the year under review and remained at a high level. A significantly larger number of building projects than in the preceding years led to 4% growth in the construction industry. The tax reform is expected to provide sustained stimulus for the US economy and construction sector. Canada’s construction industry found itself in slightly negative territory – a recovery is projected for 2018.

At 18.4%, it was the North America region that posted the strongest sales growth within the Sika Group (previous year: 7.8%), of which 8.5% was through acquisitions. Sika significantly boosted its business volume in the USA, thus growing at a much faster rate than the local construction market in 2017. Targeted investments in North America over the last few years contributed substantially to this positive business performance. These include the development of the sales organization, the implementation of the growth strategy through the acquisition of companies, and the significant expansion of the supply chain with new factories located close to fast-growing metropolitan areas. At the end of 2017, a new factory for concrete admixtures and mortar was opened near Houston, with a view to tapping into the huge growth potential of the construction market in Texas and the wider southwest of the USA.

The offering for concrete contractors was expanded with the takeover of Butterfield Color Inc., a leading manufacturer of decorative concrete floors and systems in the USA. At the end of the year, Sika also acquired Emseal Joint Systems, Ltd., a high-performance supplier of structural expansion joints.

I85 road bridge in Atlanta, Georgia USA

Following the collapse of the I85 road bridge in Atlanta, Georgia, Sika supplied its Sika® ViscoCrete® and Sika® Control-NS concrete admixtures to help complete the reconstruction a full month ahead of schedule.

Latin America

The markets in Latin America presented a very varied picture. Brazil, as the largest economy with a significant construction market in the region, saw a further downturn owing both to an absence of public and private investment as well as to continuing political instability. The Argentinian economy gained traction in the wake of political reforms, and Mexico and Colombia posted further growth.

The Latin America region increased sales by 3.3% (previous year: 5.1%). Both Mexico and Argentina generated above-average growth. Construction activity is still subdued in the countries within the region that are more dependent on the raw material sector, such as Brazil, Peru, and Chile. The supply chain in Mexico, a high-growth market, was further expanded through investment in a new factory for mortar products and concrete admixtures in Coatzacoalcos. Sika’s presence in Central America was also reinforced by the foundation of a new national subsidiary in El Salvador.

The acquired brands of Grupo Industrial Alce have strengthened Sika’s presence in Mexico in respect of both major projects and local specification capabilities. Moreover, the additional production site close to Mexico City facilitates the rapid supply of liquid-applied and bituminous membranes to this huge metropolis.

Asia/Pacific

China’s economy continued to grow in the year under review, thanks to a sound real estate market and continuous investments in infrastructure, both of which lifted demand in the construction supplies industry. In the Pacific area, Australia achieved a consistently positive performance owing to low interest rates, a stable economy, and investment in major projects. In Southeast Asia, further economic growth was, for example, reported by Malaysia, and Thailand, with investments in infrastructure expansion proving growth drivers in local construction markets.

Sales in the Asia/Pacific region rose by 5.2% (previous year: 3.6%). High growth rates were achieved in China, and double-digit increases in Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.

Sika reached a major milestone in Asia: following the founding of a new national subsidiary in Bangladesh, the Group is now represented in 100 countries worldwide.

Harbin Opera House in China

Recognized for its outstanding architecture, the Harbin Opera House in China was constructed using Sika products to help it withstand the harsh local climate.

Other segments

With 95 million new vehicles sold, global car production grew by 2.1% year on year. In 2017 as well, the automotive sector was dominated by the megatrends lightweight construction, electro mobility, eco-friendliness, and safety combined with increased comfort. Numerous automakers responded by making largescale investments in the development of electric drive systems in readiness for the announced changes to the regulatory framework in various countries. Sika aims to profit more than average from the electro mobility megatrend and increase its share in components per vehicle by over 20%.

Sika’s “Other segments and activities” generated sales growth of 14.0% in local currencies (previous year: 11.7%). The automotive business, which is managed centrally on a global basis, forms a key part of these areas of operation. Posting organic growth of 20.2% in the fourth quarter, Sika significantly exceeded market growth. At the end of the year, the acquisition of Faist ChemTec Group was announced. Headquartered in Worms, Germany, the company is a leading provider of acoustic systems for the automotive industry. The acquisition brings technology and know-how that will accelerate Sika’s growth and further drive penetration of the automotive sector.