The past 2014 financial year was overall a satisfactory one for our employees and shareholders. After two years of consolidation, the technotrans share price moved back up towards €10.00 at the end of the year. Both the analysts who continually monitor our company and the financial media revised their assessments of the future business performance of our company upwards. These independent observers consequently share the optimism of the Board of Management.
In 2014 we achieved an increase in both revenue and profit in each successive quarter. There was a plausible explanation for this: all market areas delivered what we expected of them. To start with, we increased our revenue in the printing industry by 1.7 percent despite the further retreat of the offset market. We achieved this mainly through growing market shares and new business in the digital and flexographic printing area.
Our second-largest area of activity, mechanical and plant engineering, also developed extremely well with 19.5 percent growth year on year. In this domain, we saw all technical disciplines expand. Business with laser manufacturers was up 18 percent, for example, and business with manufacturers of cutting, turning, grinding and polishing machinery increased by 30 percent. Stamping and pressing equipment manufacturers even delivered 100 percent growth. These revenue growth figures are attributable on the one hand to healthy business performance with our existing customers and on the other hand to project ventures embarked on with newly acquired customers.
As well as the traditional areas of business, what we call the future markets also developed very positively: in the areas of temperature control for storage media, converter technology and also medical and scanner technology, we were up 90 percent on the previous year. Even if our earnings in those areas are currently only in the low single-digit millions, these growth rates emphatically reflect the future potential in those markets. It is particularly worth noting that the customers in question are without exception new to technotrans.
In the Services segment, expanded activities and services in the new areas of business almost compensated for the slight contraction of the Print Segment and the Technical Documentation area. Overall, we therefore experienced just a moderate drop in revenue of 1.5 percent compared with the previous year.
We have chosen “on track” as the motto for this year’s Annual Report. We believe it accurately reflects the current position of our company technotrans. We are able to look back on a positive past financial year. The Annual Report is undoubtedly a snapshot that provides only a very limited reflection of a very eventful and successful year for the technotrans Group. Five years ago we embarked on our path out of the crisis, and since then we have achieved a great deal. On the following pages we have taken stock of the major milestone events of recent years. Even if a review of the past does not constitute the basis for the future, it will nevertheless provide both you and us with a sense of what you and we can expect in the near future: change and progress.
We have prepared the way for sustained growth and are making good progress with developing new, attractive growth areas for the future. Thank you for your trust and we look forward to your continuing association with us in 2015.
On behalf of the Board of Management