Swiss fastener distributor The Bossard Group reported sales increased 8.4% in the second four months of its fiscal year, to 184 million Swiss franc, or US$147.86 million. Group sales for the first eight months of the year were 376.8 million franc, or US$302 million.
Sales in North America fell 10.2% in the second third of the year. Bossard reported that its major customers had warned the distributor to expect a decline at the end of 2005 and going into 2006.
“This decline was much steeper than expected,” the company reported. “Particularly the collapse in the sale of consumer durables was much more drastic than could have been anticipated, which was also registered by the stock exchanges.”
Bossard recorded a 1.4 million franc ($1.12 million) loss in the first eight months of the year in the U.S., compared with a profit of 2 million franc ($1.6 million) in the same period last year.
“The current low demand and our customers’ forecasts, which are anything but optimistic, are clear signals the economy is weakening.” The company will be restructuring its operations in the U.S., replacing its multicompany, multilocation structure with “one single market- and customer-oriented unit.” The various locations in the U.S., all acquired, will be merged to form Bossard North America, and will focus on industrial customers.
Strong Growth in Europe and Asia
Strong demand continued in Europe and Asia in the second four months of the year. Sales in Europe grew by 13.4% compared with the prior year period, and sales in Asia were up by 50.3%. Growth rates reached nearly 40% in Thailand and Malaysia. China sales nearly doubled compared with last year.
Profit growth in Europe and Asia was 24%.
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