The long-term issues over access to funding and the economic slowdown seen in emerging countries have imposed significant downward pressure on global industrial investment. Despite an unprofitable and uncertain economic and trading environment, the Group order intake remained favorable, although it appeared down compared to 2011 (€1,324 million in 2012 compare to €1,674 million in 2011).
Furthermore, this performance ranked higher than those achieved between 2008 and 2010. During this period, small and medium-sized order intake rose to a new record level, driven by the buoyant energy sector (combustion and cryogenics) on the one hand, and a continuation, in 2012, of the positive trend seen in the automotive industry during 2011 on the other, especially in the American and Chinese markets. A series of major contracts negotiated at the end of 2011 also came into force in 2012, mainly in the steel industry, in China; in the aluminium industry in Canada and the Middle East and in the logistics sector in Europe, the USA and Japan.
Additionally, the 2012 financial year was marked by a strong increase in sales, which ended the year at €1,508 million, setting a new Group record. This figure reflects the marked recovery seen in order intake during 2011, which ended with an all-time high order backlog of €1,552 million, as well as the sustained level of small and medium-sized orders (for isolated equipment, spare parts and technical support services), which continued to grow in the first half of 2012. This high level of activity is reflected in the Group’s results, where EBITDA broke through the €115 million barrier to end the year more than 16% above the 2011 level.
The Group ended the year with a robust order backlog of €1,379 million, which provides strong forward visibility of activity levels for 2013.
Lucile Ribot, member of the Executive Board, Group Chief Financial Officer