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Chairman of the Board Bjørn Høi Jensen comments on the current status and future directions for the ROCKWOOL Group as presented in the Annual Report 2014.

"Despite much turmoil in the world economy, the ROCKWOOL Group sales grew by a solid 8.9% in 2014 and delivered EUR 205.5 million cash from our operations. Helped by two major acquisitions and strong performances in North America, Eastern Europe and Russia, the year was another testimony to the growth potential of our stone wool businesses."

"Strong growth needs to go hand in hand with healthy profitability and steady cash flow to finance the growth. For the Board, it has been paramount to ensure that the Group’s successful expansion over the last decade continues with even more focus on leveraging the potential of its many different business units across the globe. This was behind the decision to bring on board a new CEO with solid management experience gained at one of the world’s largest industrial companies. One of the key priorities in the coming period will be to review our global business strategy in order to secure a solid future foundation from which we can take the ROCKWOOL Group to the next level."

"At the same time we need to focus on operational challenges, not least the consequences of the current economic instability and strong currency fluctuations. We intend to maintain our strong position in the important Russian market which has experienced dramatic ups and downs. We believe we can eventually emerge stronger from this crisis while our short term focus is on securing smooth operations and managing risks in the best possible manner."

"European markets have been disappointing in 2014 and the anticipated recovery has not yet materialised. However, the Board remains convinced about the solid potential of these markets where we are making important investments as part of our programme to re-engineer European production. The North American market, which is growing fast thanks to our successful roll-out of stone wool insulation and acoustic ceilings, will be a key priority for future investment. For the moment, however, focus is on getting the newly opened factory in Mississippi up to optimal performance in order to satisfy our many new customers."

"One of the pillars of the current strategy has been the continued development of more integrated building solutions as witnessed by two major acquisitions. These established the Group as a serious player in the German facade systems market and the North American and European ceiling systems market. We will continue on this road which holds great potential for growth. Our Systems business posted impressive figures in 2014, both in terms of sales growth and profitability. It shows that, even in relatively weak construction markets, there are always opportunities to develop, particularly where we can position and leverage the unique properties of stone wool. We will continue to exploit these promising pockets of growth."

"Finally, a thank you to management and employees, it’s been a turbulent year but thanks to your dedicated efforts we are well on our way to the next level."


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