German supplier ZF Friedrichshafen increased consolidated group sales by 2.4 percent to DM10.1 billion (A5.1 billion) in 1999. Net income grew dramatically to DM734 million from DM203 million.
ZF said it succeeded in expanding its position as a global supplier with 40 percent of its production sites located outside Europe in 1999.
The company's strongest growth area was NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area) where it saw sales increase by 61 percent to DM 2.2 billion.
ZF also improved its presence in Asia with the modernization of facilities in India, Japan and Malaysia. It also began production at a plant in China, ZF Drivetech Suzhou Co. Ltd. Sales in Asia increased by 18 percent to DM327 million. Sales in the Mercosur region of South America fell 41 percent. The company's work force was 33,393 at the year-end.
ZF was active in developing its role as a global systems and modules supplier. It established three new plants for the production of passenger car axle modules at Rosslyn, South Africa; Toluca, Mexico; and Thyrnau, near Passau, Germany. Overall, its global systems business accounted for 30 percent of group sales in 1999.
ZF said it made research and development a priority with investment of DM447 million.
ZF's Car Transmissions division achieved the highest rate of growth with a 41 percent increase in sales to DM 2.7 billion due to the first-time inclusion of the ZF Batavia LLC - its joint venture with Ford.
DM103 million was invested in the construction of two new research and development centers in Dielingen, Germany and Plymouth, Michigan, USA.