Our activity performance
Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) achieved 42% sales growth. The integration of the Bridon activities since the end of June 2016, accounted for an increase of 38%. The former Bekaert activities within BBRG delivered 5% organic growth reflecting almost 4% volume increase stemming from double-digit growth in the advanced cords business and a modest volume increase in ropes.
The advanced cords business activities have performed strongly throughout the year. The steel ropes activities in North America, Australia and Chile gradually reported higher sales volumes on the wave of increased demand in the mining sector. The European and Brazilian entities, which are heavily dependent on oil, reported very weak sales and results throughout the year.
Underlying EBIT was € 15 million at a margin of 3.3%, reflecting the difficult conditions in oil & gas markets and the margin impact of continuous wire rod price increases. The projected recovery of Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group is taking longer than anticipated due to the absence of a rebound in offshore oil & gas activities and the slow reconversion and entry process into more diversified market segments. While the order books are modestly growing, they have an extended delivery window with limited immediate growth effects.
BBRG invested € 15 million in PP&E in 2017, half of which in advanced cords and the other half in steel ropes manufacturing sites worldwide.