Bosch beyond the crisis, increasing revenues and margins

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Bosch, the German multinational supplier of automotive and consumer electronics, closed 2022 well and despite “the overlapping crises”, as the CEO Stefan Hartung recalled, is also optimistic for 2023, at least as far as it’s about the company.

“The end of the war in Ukraine cannot be seen on the horizon,” warns the manager, who, however, together with the head of finance, Markus Forschner, was able to present double-digit revenue growth: +12% to 88.2 billion euros (over 56 of which related to the Mobility division) to which Italy also contributed, which will announce its results by the end of the month. Profit was 3.8 billion and EBIT was 4.3% (it was 4% a year ago).

«We have successfully overcome the challenges of 2022: both turnover and margin have exceeded expectations», smiles Hartung. The management also had positive repercussions on employment: the number of Bosch employees globally exceeded the 421,000 mark (18,724 more, half of whom hired in Germany, where 44,000 people are employed in software development out of a total 85,500). The Volkswagen group – with which Bosch has reached an agreement to manufacture batteries without setting up a joint company – can be used as a basis of comparison: 660,000 employees with a turnover of 279 billion.

Bosch and the double hydrogen option for transport

The German multinational is working on both fuel cell solutions and engines that use hydrogen as fuel.

Last year Bosch increased investments in research by 1.1 billion, which rose to 7.2 billion with an incidence of 8.2% on turnover (it was 7.8% in 2021). Capital expenditure, on the other hand, was adjusted to an even greater extent: from 3.9 to 4.9 billion. The situation in Russia penalized the consumer goods segment in particular, where margins fell to 4.5%.

The multinational is skeptical of the Old Continent: “Europe is at risk of recession,” warns Forschner. For Bosch, it is worth 50% of turnover, 44 billion. Even globally, the company assumes a “difficult” year, with GDP growth of 1.7%, down compared to 2.9% in 2022. The cautious forecasts, however, do not concern the activities of the group for which the same the finance chief assumes a revenue increase of between 6 and 9% and an EBIT of 5%, although the long-term target remains 7%.

Bosch is aiming for semiconductors (it will also invest 1.4 billion in the United States, where with the Inflation Reduction Act the Biden administration has launched a crackdown to support local industry) and continues to cultivate the hydrogen option, interesting not only with fuel cell propulsion technologies.

With heat pumps (a billion investments by the end of the decade in Europe) Bosch is moving not only in the mobility sector, but also in heating, to allow homeowners to modernize systems at affordable costs. Hybrid solutions (gas boilers and heat pumps) reduce costs by up to 30%. The heat pump market will grow by 20% this year alone according to Bosch.

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