Regional sales development 2015
Sales in the ROCKWOOL Group grew by 2.2% in local currencies in 2015.
The geographical footprint of ROCKWOOL Group sales shifted towards the West in 2015. Strong growth in the United States and Canada meant that, for the first time in the Group’s history, the combined turnover in the North American and Asian market segments surpassed our sales in Central and Eastern Europe. Sales growth was exclusively organic and ended up 2.2% in local currencies and 1.3% when we translate into Euros.
Sales in the important Western European markets (58% of sales) saw a good start to the year, up 4% after the first quarter 2015. However, during the year, the growth pace declined and ended with a 1.3% increase in local currencies as well as in reported figures.
Market circumstances differed widely with a positive trend in many of the mid-sized markets such as Scandinavia, UK, the Netherlands and Spain. In our two main markets – France and Germany –performance was slower than expected, in particular sales in Germany were disappointing during the second half of the year while France showed signs of improvement.
The Eastern European region including Russia (19% of sales) was slightly negative with a 2.5% decline in local currencies, but 14.8% when we include the currency effect caused primarily by the fall in the rouble. Our important Russian business was impacted by the economic crisis and witnessed a double-digit market contraction in line with expectations, including a big part of sales in Ukraine disappearing and a major decline in building construction within Russia. On a more positive note, we evaluate that our performance was better than the general market, thanks to our prominent brand position and strong local organisation.
The other markets in the region showed a mixed picture with Poland and most of the neighbouring countries returning healthy sales, but with continued challenges further south in the Balkans.
Sales outside Europe and Russia (23% of sales) progressed by 9.8% carried by the solid North American markets. Including the currency effect, sales were up by 19.1%, primarily helped by the appreciation of the US dollar.
In North America, the recovery of the building sector continued, in the first part of the year primarily in the US market but, during the second half, there were also healthy developments in Canada. This was especially true within the residential building market.
In Asia, the Chinese market was affected by the downward trend in the economy and by overcapacity resulting from the recently established local stone wool producers. The Group has decided to focus on selected segments such as industrial and technical applications which are performing better. The Group recognised impairment losses of EUR 21.4 million in the third quarter as a consequence of the changed outlook in China and India. The businesses in Malaysia and Thailand performed well especially in the second half of the year.