| Stuttgart, 11th May, 2016 |
· Security drives success for Industry 4.0
· Revenues increase by 8.4% in 2015 to EUR 2.7 billion
· Operating earnings surge to over EUR 200 million
· Number of employees rises by 1,650 to approximately 37,000
· Success in the growth regions of North America and Asia
The internationally operating expert organization DEKRA again grew dynamically in the 2015 financial year. Revenues climbed by 8.4% to EUR 2.72 billion, thereby achieving the most ambitious plans. Adjusted operating earnings (EBIT) improved by 15% to EUR 201.1 million. As a result of new hiring and acquisitions, the number of employees increased by 1,650 to approximately 37,000. As DEKRA reported to journalists in Stuttgart on Wednesday, targets were achieved not only in the established markets in Europe but also in the growth regions of North America and Asia-Pacific. DEKRA also benefited from its good position within industrial testing and the new challenges posed by Industry 4.0. "Due to in-house expertise and strategic acquisitions, we are one of the Top 5 players in the world in the growing inspection area of connectivity," stated DEKRA CEO Stefan Kölbl. "Digital expertise is a key competence. This is why we are investing in the ongoing qualification of the workforce and are looking for further specialists relating to the Internet of Things," declared Roland Gerdon, member of the Management Board responsible for HR and Finance. "In the last five years alone, we have grown by some 12,000 employees and have had a revenues upturn of almost EUR 1 billion," commented Gerdon. DEKRA always thinks safety from the very start and has set the objective of becoming the global partner for a safe world by 2025.DEKRA experts inspect 26 million vehicles around the world every year. In Portugal, there are plans to reach a capacity of 200,000 vehicle inspections by the end of 2017. To achieve this, DEKRA is investing an eight-digit figure in nine new testing centers. In 2014, Portugal opened the market and issued new licenses for vehicle inspection stations.
DEKRA has embedded this target in its "Vision 2025" Strategy Program. A focus here is further international expansion. Alongside its home market of Europe, the focus is sharpening particularly in the growth regions of North America and Asia- Pacific. "We will be there where people need safety," stated Stefan Kölbl. For example, in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, in parallel to the standard of living, there is growing demand for safety "Made in Germany". DEKRA aims to double the business volume in this region over the next five years. In North America, too, the objective is to make above-average revenue increases in this period. In internationalizing its business, DEKRA also intends to continue deploying strategic acquisitions. At the same time, the testing centers and laboratory networks are to be further expanded. "In important countries and markets, we are aiming to achieve blanket coverage, so as to operate close to the customer," reported the DEKRA CEO.
Automotive Services: Expansion on track
Revenues of utomotive increased by 6.9% to EUR 1.42 billion. As a global market leader with around 26 million vehicle inspections per year, DEKRA has further expanded its international business. In the process, the testing center network has been expanded in important target markets such as Sweden as well as the USA and Canada. In southeast Europe, DEKRA has established used car management in Slovenia, Serbia, Hungary and Bulgaria, as well as an expertise network across the Balkans.
As the most important company in DEKRA Automotive, DEKRA Automobil GmbH posted a revenues upturn of almost 6% to EUR 1.1 billion. "In Germany, DEKRA has strengthened its position as a market leader in vehicle inspections with a market share of approximately 34% and over eleven million inspections per year," said Stefan Kölbl. In Germany, DEKRA Automobil GmbH also performs periodic industrial testing services. This business has been expanded by more than 10% to EUR 133 million.
In the DEKRA business areas relating to mobility, the use of electronic systems and the significance of communication technology are growing. In addition, the number of electric vehicles on the road is set to increase and driver assistance systems will gain in importance. This brings new opportunities for DEKRA in its core business. "As the No. 1 for vehicle inspections, we are an important partner of the regulatory authorities and vehicle manufacturers in matters including safety and reliability of electromobility or new assistance systems," commented Stefan Kölbl.
What is more, digitalization of mobility requires advances in testing. Not solely as a consequence of the latest discussions on diesel vehicle emissions, DEKRA is in favor of a combination of tests under laboratory conditions and road tests for type approval as well as the extension of exhaust gas testing as part of regular vehicle inspections. "A decision is urgently required as to which data Page 3 manufacturers need to provide so that testing organizations such as DEKRA can effectively monitor the functionality of electronic systems in vehicles," said the DEKRA CEO.
According to Kölbl, independent vehicle data evaluation will become increasingly important in the coming years. DEKRA is already dealing with these issues as part of a cooperation relating to the Σtos autonomous concept vehicle from the Swiss company Rinspeed. In the vehicle, data on consumption, distances and speeds as well as error messages are recorded from different systems. "Such data can be interesting for fleet operators. For this reason, they are analyzed from a business perspective," said Stefan Kölbl.
Industrial Services: Important player in the Internet of Things
Over the past few years, DEKRA Industrial has improved its market position thanks to strategic acquisitions in terms of content and geography. This strategy is paying off. Revenues climbed in double digits, by 14.8% to EUR 806 million. In the 2015 financial year, DEKRA positioned itself as a player in the Internet of Things. In the process, existing expertise in production testing and certification was expanded by acquisitions; for example, the Spanish company "AT4 wireless".
Headquartered in Malaga, AT4 wireless is one of the market leaders in wireless connectivity testing. Software frameworks are essential for smooth interoperability in the Internet of Things. Global brand manufacturers have integrated such frameworks into their products and have made commitments to strict certification procedures. AT4 wireless develops the relevant processes. The company also ensures that these processes are performed in authorized testing laboratories. "Thanks to the cluster made up of AT4 wireless, the DEKRA subsidiary QuieTek, Taiwan, and the joint venture with the iST Group, Taiwan, DEKRA now combines expertise in testing telecommunication devices with interoperability tests and certifying smart home products," reported DEKRA CEO Kölbl. In the important area of secure connectivity, DEKRA is one of the top five providers in the world.
Its strong position with regard to industrial testing services in the core European markets of France and Germany has been further developed and consolidated. New large orders, for testing Orange and SFR cell phone equipment in France or a nuclear power plant in Switzerland and supporting the nuclear facilities of the Page 4 CEA in France, for example, assure DEKRA's position as an important safety partner for European industry.
In the key market of product testing and certification, DEKRA consolidated its position in 2015 with ten new laboratories. At the beginning of 2016, two others were added, in Hefei (China) and in Dubai. "As a result of synergies with other DEKRA units, our laboratories will also contribute to achieving wireless connectivity and the secure smart home of the future," said Stefan Kölbl.
In material testing and inspection, DEKRA has further expanded and linked its range of services. Skills in robot-assisted inspection are combined with software and analysis expertise. In this way, offers relating to remote monitoring and predictive maintenance can be developed. On the basis of its expertise related to electromagnetic compatibility, DEKRA Rail developed a monitoring system that enhances safety for rail transportation on behalf of Dutch Railways. Up to seven million data records from trains, signal systems and the rail network are processed every day so as to identify dangerous frequency overlaps. "This can be done only on the basis of automated big data analyses and pattern recognition based on algorithms," said Kölbl, summarizing the DEKRA expertise relating to the EMC monitoring system. In addition, the train monitoring system makes it possible to identify errors in drive motors at an early stage so that predictive maintenance of trains is possible, thus preventing potential accidents.
DEKRA strengthened its international consultancy business in organizational and process safety as a result of buying the Scottish-based Optimus Seventh Generation Ltd. "With Optimus, we have improved our access to the oil and gas industry, particularly for offshore extraction in the North Sea," commented Kölbl. Overall, DEKRA now supports high-risk industries throughout the entire production process with technical and organizational safety services at the workplace.
Personnel Services: Intensified cooperation with business
As a result of growth, both in the Qualification business unit and in temporary employment, DEKRA increased its revenues by 2.4% to EUR 467 million. As one of Germany’s largest private training providers, DEKRA Akademie is benefiting from stronger corporate customer business. More and more companies are making investments relating to qualifications for occupational safety. In addition, private companies are increasingly cooperating with external Page 5 partners in training and further education. On behalf of German clinics and care homes, DEKRA has trained more than 1,000 carers in Eastern Europe.
DEKRA Arbeit has a successful market position, despite political hurdles in Germany. At the end of 2015, more than 12,000 people were working as temporary employees. In the annual Lünendonk ranking, this places DEKRA at No. 7 of the largest temporary staffing and HR service companies in Germany (previous year: No. 10). Current financial year: Positive outlook DEKRA grew for the twelfth year in a row in 2015. Four times as many staff work at DEKRA as in 2000, more than half of them outside Germany. Revenues have tripled. DEKRA also had a good start to the current financial year. As industry leader in Europe and the world's largest non-listed testing organization, the CEO believes the company will continue to grow in a stable and sustainable manner. Stefan Kölbl: "For us, safety is more than business. It is a social responsibility to which we have a passionate commitment." This has been true for 90 years regarding improving traffic safety. But DEKRA has long been committed to occupational safety and safety in private households and leisure. "Safety is a fundamental human right. We ensure more safety the world over." For 2016, he expects growth of between 5% and 8%.
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