Sales went up by 8 percent to €1,089 million for the Zeiss group Vision Care & Consumer Products division in the financial year ended last Sept. 30, thanks in part to growing demand for Zeiss eyeglass lenses and various product innovations. Recent launches included DriveSafe and PhotoFusion as well as DuraVision coatings.

The group's revenues and earnings reached new record levels. Sales grew organically by 8 percent to €4,881 million, with increases in all the segments. At €615 million, operating income was significantly above the previous year's figure of €369 million, resulting in a healthy Ebit margin of 13 percent. Consolidated net earnings more than doubled to €404 million.

With an unchanged equity ratio of 25 percent and the net cash position up sharply to €568 million, the management indicated that it will be actively seeking new acquisitions and make additional investments to strategically supplement its portfolio.

The good financial results can be partly attributed to slight declines in research & development expenses as well as lower investments in property, plant and equipment. They were down last year to €436 million and €154 million, respectively.

Revenue growth was driven by increases of 16 percent in directly managed emerging markets and 17 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, with sales in China alone rising to €504 million from €390 million in the previous year.  Sales increased by 5 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and by 3 percent in the Americas.

The turnover in Asia-Pacific rose beyond €1 billion for the first time. They increased in Germany by 10 percent to €599 million.

Incoming orders were up by 8 percent at the end of the financial year, reaching a level of more than €5 billion for the first time. For the current fiscal year, the management is projecting a stable Ebit margin and a slight revenue increase, citing a slight slowdown in some emerging markets and increasing protectionism.