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Bosch, the private German technology group and services supplier, said 2016 revenues rose 3.5 per cent but operating income fell owing to lower margins and heavy investment in its long-term growth strategy.

In preliminary figures, Bosch said earnings before interest and taxes were €4.3bn, down from €4.6bn a year before. Revenues were up 3.5 per cent to €73.1bn. Final figures are expected May 4.

Bosch is the world’s largest car parts supplier and sales in this division rose 5.5 per cent to €44bn, accounting for 60 per cent of group sales.

“I think there is not one car today [in the world] without a Bosch part,” said Peter Tyroller, management board member who oversees Asia.

Asia was the group’s fastest growing region, with revenue climbing 8.1 per cent, versus 3.4 per cent growth in Europe. Sales declined in North and South America, falling 2 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively.

Bosch is projecting 2.3 per cent global economic growth this year, but it declined to offer a projection for its own sales given uncertainties including the new US administration and the Brexit vote.

“It’s very difficult to say these days the what the growth will be,” said Uwe Raschke, board member responsible for consumer goods. “There are so many uncertainties in this complex geopolitical [environment.]”

Bosch said it would invest €300m in a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence, to bulk up its “one-stop shop for the Internet of Things” model comprising services, sensors and software.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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