Message of the CEO and the Chairman

Dear Reader,

At Bekaert, we recognize that our commitment to consistently driving value creation for our stakeholders has to take into account the broader economic, environmental and social impacts of our operations. We therefore consider the interests of customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders in all aspects of our operations.

2015 was a year of strong growth for Bekaert. We achieved 14% sales growth, reaching € 3.7 billion in consolidated revenue.  If you want to learn more about our financial and operational performance, we invite you to read our 2015 Annual Report and our 2015 Shareholders Guide, both available on our website. We grew our leading position in tire markets thanks to the integration of Pirelli’s steel cord activities, Bekaert’s largest acquisition in history. We also grew our position in mining markets by acquiring and integrating a ropes plant in Australia; and our largest deal is yet to come, with the announced merger of the ropes and advanced cords activities of Bekaert and Bridon.

In doing this we take into account our responsibility in the workplace, in the marketplace, towards the environment and towards society.

We co-operate with customers and suppliers, we interact with local governments in a transparent and constructive way and strive to be a loyal and responsible partner in the communities where we are active.

Internally, we see our global transformational programs gain impact as they increase in speed and scope across the organization. The Bekaert manufacturing excellence program, for instance, is aimed at increasing competitiveness by optimizing the company’s safety, quality, delivery performance and productivity. We see clear benefits from this program which we began at the end of 2014 and are rolling out in all our manufacturing sites worldwide, over a period of four years. We also recently launched a customer excellence program to drive growth and margin performance. By understanding and responding better to our customers’ needs and creating more value for them, we will both benefit from this program in the current and coming years.

By encouraging continuous development for our employees and by implementing a group-wide safety program to enhance the safety behavior and results, we take up our role as a responsible employer.  

We develop products and processes that contribute to a cleaner environment and focus on risk prevention and management in all key processes.

We recognize that we also have a responsibility towards society. Our funding and other community-building activities are focused on education projects.  In addition, we support local activities and projects for social, cultural and economic development.

In this report, you will find examples of how we are acting as a socially responsible company.

We want to thank our customers, partners and shareholders for their continued trust. And we want to thank our employees for their commitment and drive to take on the challenges to realize our goals.

Matthew Taylor, CEO                                                                                     Bert De Graeve, Chairman