Schaeffler has posted 2016 net income up 45 % to EUR859m (US$909m) with revenue rising 3.4% at constant currency to EUR13.3bn.

The Automotive division acted as the main driver behind the company’s performance in 2016, reporting revenue growth of 6% at constant currency compared to the prior year, expanding faster than global production volumes for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (+4.8%).

From a regional perspective, strong demand in the Greater China region was the main contributor to the growth. The aftermarket was also successful, expanding by 10.8% at constant currency.

All regions of the Schaeffler Group contributed to the increase in revenue. Revenue in the Europe region was up 1.8% (at constant currency). Americas region revenue came in at the prior year level.

Driven by the buoyant Automotive business, revenue in the Greater China and Asia/Pacific regions increased by 13.3% (at constant currency) and 4.7% (at constant currency).

Earnings before the financial result and income taxes (EBIT) before special items was EUR1,700m (prior year: EUR1,676m). The EBIT margin amounted to 12.7% on the same basis.

Special items of EUR144m consisted mainly of provisions for restructuring expenses and legal risks. Lower interest expenses improved financial result by EUR206m to EUR341m (prior year: EUR-547m).

Net income attributable to shareholders of the parent company increased by 45% to EUR859m (prior year: EUR591m), mainly due to the improvement in financial result.

“2016 was a strong year,” said Schaeffler CEO, Klaus Rosenfeld.

“We are well-positioned for the future. Our net income increased by 45% to EUR859m. The ordinary dividend shall be increased from 35 cents to 50 cents per common non-voting share.”

For 2017, the Schaeffler Group anticipates revenue growth of 4% to 5% at constant currency. The group expects its Automotive division to grow faster than global production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2017.

In the Industrial division, revenue levels are expected to be at par with prior year. Based on these considerations, the company expects to again generate an EBIT margin before special items of between 12 and 13% as it has in the past. The Schaeffler Group is anticipating approximately EUR600m in free cash flow for 2017.

“We started well into the year 2017,” added Rosenfeld. “However, the market environment requires flexibility. We think long-term and continue to focus on quality, technology and innovation. We are well-positioned for the key topics E Mobility, Industry 4.0, and Digitisation.”