2017 was a very positive year for our Group. We grew globally, improving in efficiency and productivity, continuing our commitment to research and development and offering a more comprehensive range of products and services. The foundation for our future growth lies in the strength of our brands and these are becoming increasingly well-known around the world. The Group also grew through new acquisitions, including HTP in the US – which consolidated our presence in North America after acquiring the Canadian company NTI in 2016 – and the Israeli company Atmor, which brought distinctive skills in instantaneous electric water heaters.
Our focus on excellence was confirmed by our commitment to World Class Manufacturing. Our plants in Arcevia and Osimo were awarded the Bronze Medal during the WCM Awards 2017, which we had the honour of hosting in the Marche region; over three hundred managers from member companies attended from all over the world.
We payed even greater attention to our people, the vital heart and engine of Ariston Thermo’s successes; introducing new training courses, paying attention to career development and performance appraisals, and reinforcing employer branding.
At the start of 2017 Laurent Jacquemin, who has spent his whole career in the Group, was appointed Chief Executive Officer.
Innovation and sustainability have continued to play a central role in our growth. We have opened a new R&D centre “Ariston Thermo Innovative Technologies” to speed up the development of cutting edge solutions for the thermal comfort sector. Our commitment has been justified by our economic results. In 2017, the Group recorded its best ever result both in turnover and profitability, we have laid strong foundations for even more focussed growth in 2018.
Our vision for the future is based on the keywords of sustainability, comfort and accessibility: we want to offer sustainable comfort to all consumers by developing and marketing products based on energy efficiency and renewable sources, tailored to the needs of consumers and accessible globally.
Our ambition is to be the best partner in the provision of water and space heating solutions, earning our place at the top of the global sector through our main drivers of growth; a commitment to our core business and becoming closer to customers.
To meet these ambitions, Ariston Thermo is faced by three key challenges: consolidate the many markets in which we already operate by reinforcing our distribution channels and increasing our leadership in the key thermal comfort categories; continue to offer clients an excellent service that accompanies them along the whole product lifecycle; maintain leadership in technological innovation, environmental sustainability and cost management.
A goal we know we can reach with the commitment, values and enthusiasm of our people, who are the irreplaceable ingredient in our recipe for success. My heartfelt thanks go to them for all the invaluable work undertaken and I hope 2018 will bring with it just as much satisfaction.