by the chairman of the board of management
The Bosch Group took a great step forward in 2015. Sales grew 44 percent year on year. The acquisition of all shares in the former fifty-fifty joint ventures for household appliances and steering systems is a considerable boost for our company. Strategically, both areas of activity are an excellent fit for the Bosch Group and our “Invented for life” ethos. In our business operations as well, we made good progress. Our considerable innovative strength is a key to our success. All in all, therefore, we have a sound base from which to tackle our future tasks.
Our business environment is very volatile. More than anything else, we see this as a great opportunity. In this context, our focus is on energy efficiency, automation, electrification, growth in emerging markets, and connectivity. We orient our work to these challenges and changes. Especially in light of the only moderate prospects for the global economy, we want to use innovation as a way of creating additional markets in many areas. A further important point is to adapt not only our organization, but also the way we lead and collaborate, in order to improve our flexibility and agility.
One subject that concerns all our business sectors is the huge potential of the internet of things. Our ambition is to be one of the world’s leading companies in this area. And we have an excellent basis on which to build: our comprehensive expertise in mobility, industrial technology, consumer goods, and energy and building technology. We are a globally leading manufacturer of MEMS sensors, are systematically expanding our software expertise, and are increasingly moving into services and new business models in areas such as connected vehicles, smart homes, and connected manufacturing. We have also set up the Bosch Global Service Solutions division in order to strengthen our services business. The present annual report shows just how much is happening. We explain our strategy in the management report and provide a wealth of examples in the magazine entitled “Simply.Connected.” All these things are brought even more vividly to life in the online version.
We make heavy upfront investments in the areas that will determine the company’s future. On electromobility alone, we spend roughly 400 million euros a year. When we bought the U.S. start-up Seeo last year, we secured a battery technology that may prove to be a breakthrough in this field. At the same time, the challenges presented by change mean we have to focus our efforts, and this may result in structural changes. In such cases, our responsibility lies equally with the company as a whole and with the associates affected. We believe it is important to involve the employee representatives in our plans as early as possible, to inform the workforce in detail, and to show them where future prospects lie.
In the years ahead, change will demand a lot from us as a company. It is our executives and associates worldwide, with their ideas and in their daily work, who will seize the opportunities presented by change and secure our success. This makes it all the more important to involve them closely, and to offer them interesting tasks and attractive working conditions. We are also relying increasingly on collaboration across departmental and divisional boundaries.
On behalf of the board of management, I would like to thank our entire workforce worldwide for their hard work and dedication. Without them, our success in 2015 would not have been possible. Our thanks also go to the employee representatives for their constructive contribution to the company’s development, to the shareholders and the supervisory board for their support, and especially to our business partners.
With best regards