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Sep 07, 2012

CEO of global instrumentation group sees signs of life amid gloom

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Endress+Hauser CEO Klaus Endress discusses the group's growth prospects. Camerawork: Nicholas Boyd. Editing: Darlene Creamer.
 
 
 
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Global instrumentation and automation group Endress+Hauser CEO Klaus Endress believes that, despite the continuing global economic and political turmoil, the group will continue to be successful and grow.

On a visit to South Africa last month, Endress told Engineering News that the group is targeting growth of 8% this year.

“We are pretty well on the way to reaching this target. We are currently less than 1% below that, so it is feasible and I am very positive we will reach this target,” he commented.

He highlighted that, while this year had started off slowly, business was picking up and improving.


Endress noted that, while many saw Europe as a saturated market, the weak euro and strong industry benefited the group. As most of Europe’s industries were export-orientated and supplying products to other developing markets, Endress+Hauser was experiencing growth in demand for its products.

To date this year, the company has seen growth slightly above what it had targeted in Europe. In the Americas, the group was seeing double-digit growth for the third consecutive year. In Latin America, the growth potential was good, but political instability was a challenge.

The oil and gas industries in the Middle East were also driving good growth for the group in that region.

Further, the growth prospects in Asia were mixed, with demand in India developing nicely and Korea showing strong growth.

However, while China’s gross domestic product continued to increase, growth in instrumentation and automation industry was decreasing, noted Endress.

Meanwhile, the Australian and African markets were also profitable, with the group recording double-digit growth in these regions so far this year.

Endress noted that the mining industry in Africa was providing good growth for the group.

“[Africa] is a sleeping part of the world. [Things] are not moving fast, but the potential is big and untapped,” he commented.

Endress+Hauser South Africa MD Rob MacKenzie added that the group’s South African subsidiary was seeing good growth from the mining industry in the rest of Africa, particularly in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, where mining was performing well.

It was also seeing strong growth in the food and water industries in both South Africa and the rest of Africa.

The group had a record year in supplying the water sector with products and services, particularly analytics services and equipment, given that people seemed to be becoming more concerned with the quality of their water, stated MacKenzie.

Further, Endress noted that the floating production, storage and offloading sector in Africa required a lot of measuring equipment. This is a growing sector, particularly in Nigeria.

He stated that the group had a good installed base for this sector, adding that the group was considering establishing a company in Africa to support the sector in future.


Meanwhile, Endress expects the growing global population to contribute to growing demand for Endress+Hauser’s products and services.

As the population grows, demand for resources increases, which, in turn, requires industries to work more efficiently to find and use these resources. He believes the group will play a key role in helping its clients improve their efficiency.

Therefore, he expects the group’s automation business to achieve average growth rates of 5% a year going forward.

To ensure the company continues to grow amid an uncertain economic climate, it is focused on giving the markets and its customers what they need and what they want.

The group will continue to increase its services to markets and its customers, improve the support it provides its customers, and provide the products, processes and technologies its customers want.

Endress stated that nano- and biotechnology would play an important role in all industries in future.


Meanwhile, he also expected the group to exceed its target of investing €140-million in the business this year.

The investment included the acquisition of US-based SpectraSensor, which has enabled Endress+Hauser to enter the gas analysis market.

Endress noted that SpectraSensor’s tunable diode laser spectroscopy instrumentation was robust and required limited maintenance.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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