Our activity performance
Bekaert delivered 8.5% organic volume growth in Asia Pacific, compared with 2015. Our activities achieved strong margin growth across the region: underlying EBIT increased by 72% to € 119 million, reflecting a margin of 11.3%. Underlying EBITDA was € 222 million, 25% higher than last year and representing a margin of 21%. ROCE almost doubled to more than 12%.
This robust performance across the whole region was the result of high capacity utilization, M&A activity, an immediate return from capital investments, and significant benefits from various transformation programs. The growing share of high value-adding products in our sales portfolio and the effects of the divested low margin activities, added to the robust profit numbers.
The successful pilot of Bekaert’s customer excellence program in China led to a better prioritization of the capacity available to serve growth accounts with a higher value adding product portfolio. Bekaert’s operations in Indonesia and India performed strongly throughout the year. We have implemented actions to turn around the low performance of the Malaysian activities. At the same time, we are adding tire cord capacity across Asia to meet increased demand from automotive markets.
Bekaert invested significantly across the region and recorded a total of € 59 million investments in PP&E in 2016, including expansion investments in tire cord activities in China, India and Indonesia.