FRANKFURT -- German supplier Robert Bosch said revenue rose 44 percent to an all-time high of 70.6 billion euros ($79.9 billion) last year helped by sales of car safety and assistance systems, but cautioned that momentum had slowed at the start of 2016.
The company said it expected sales to rise at the lower end of its 3 percent to 5 percent forecast range this year if a slowdown in the first quarter continues.
"If the first quarter's slowdown continues in certain regions and markets, sales growth will be at the lower end of the forecast scale," Bosch said in a statement on Wednesday.
The supplier said its earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 24 percent to 4.6 billion euros last year.
Earnings were lifted by one-off items such as the consolidation of two joint ventures: BSH Hausgeraete and the automotive steering technology division it ran with ZF.
Bosch said it was continuing a strategic push in the area of software, sensors and services businesses, using Internet connectivity to add new products to complement its hardware and components.
Sales at its mobility solutions division, which supplies the auto industry with sensors and software to give cars semi-autonomous driving and parking capabilities, rose 12 percent on a currency adjusted basis to 41.7 billion euros last year. That outpaced global automobile production, which rose only 2 percent in 2015. Bosch said the automotive-focused division achieved EBIT of 3.5 billion euros and a margin of 8.4 percent of sales.
Bosch sales in the industrial technology sector fell 1.6 percent to 6.6 billion euros.
By 2020, Bosch expects its "connected industry" to deliver 1 billion euros in cost savings and to generate an additional 1 billion euros in sales.
Bosch also makes an engine management program used by several top automakers including Volkswagen Group. Both companies are under investigation by German prosecutors and U.S. authorities who are examining what role employees of the companies may have played in designing software to help cheat U.S. emissions tests.
Separately, the supplier's CEO, Volkmar Denner, today denied that Bosch had said Fiat was using an illegal defeat device to virtually disable exhaust filters in some of its cars.
The comment follows a report in the German weekly Bild am Sonntag that said that a German emissions probe had found that some Fiat vehicles showed irregular levels of diesel exhaust pollution if the cars ran for longer than 22 minutes, adding that Bosch is said to have informed investigators that the automaker was using a defeat device.
"At no point in time did Bosch communicate that Fiat is using a non-authorized defeat device," Denner told a press conference.
"If something is being used in an authorized manner or not, this is something Bosch is not in a position to assess, only the manufacturer can do this," Denner said.
The newspaper said Germany's motor transport authority (KBA) revealed that an emissions treatment system on an unspecified Fiat model was throttled back after 22 minutes, a sign that the producer may be employing technical devices or software to avoid emissions cleaning filters.
Following the KBA investigation, German manufacturers Volkswagen, Porsche, Opel, Audi and Mercedes agreed to recall 630,000 vehicles to tweak diesel engine software technology.