Preliminary figures from Bosch show the technology and services company generated sales revenue of EUR51.4bn (US$66.6bn) in 2011, up 8.8% compared to 2010.

"We were able to grow strongly in our anniversary year and this despite such portentous events as the sovereign-debt and euro crises and the natural disaster in Japan, with its dramatic consequences," said Bosch chairman Franz Fehrenbach.

As a result of special burdens, the pre-tax result was roughly 5% of sales, falling short of the target corridor of between 7% and 8%. "Without these special burdens, we would have been within our target corridor," said Fehrenbach.

Burdens included the rise in the cost of materials, the company's considerable up-front investments in areas of future business such as electro-mobility or renewable energy, as well as a downward revaluation of assets in the Solar Energy Division.

As a result of business development, global head count increased by nearly 20,000, and stood at more than 303,000 as of 1 January, 2012, with the greatest increase in Europe.

Bosch Group sales increased in all the world's major economic regions in 2011: in Europe , Bosch grew by 9.5% to more than EUR30bn. In Asia Pacific , the company was able to increase its sales by nearly 9% to EUR12bn and in the Americas by 7%.

The company predicts global economic growth of some 2.5% in 2012. "With respect to Europe, whether we see stagnation or even a recession depends largely on how quickly and rigorously carried out are the necessary reforms in the euro zone," said Fehrenbach.