In 2008, sales increased by an adjusted 13.2% to CHF 3.7 billion, and they continued to trail order intake, resulting in an order backlog of 2.1 billion (+6.2% compared to 2007). For most of 2008, the company says that its relevant markets were strong, with the oil and gas (upstream) and power generation markets showing significant growth. Project activity in the hydrocarbon processing industry was lower, while the aviation segment and the automotive market remained largely stable and the pulp and paper segment declined.
Toward the end of 2008, however, demand clearly weakened in almost all markets relevant to the company, while significant growth in the emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East levelled off toward the end of the year and Europe and North America weakened after stable activities in the first part of 2008. The Sulzer Pumps division showed an increased order intake, with sales and operating income at record levels, and a return on sales increased to 12.8%. However, Sulzer Pumps expects the number of large projects to decline in 2009, with lower sales and operating income despite a strong order backlog.