Schott recorded an operating profit (earnings before interest and taxes) of €289m.
“We were able to meet our forecasts, despite the global economic situation, which impacted parts of the business,” said Schott chairman Prof Udo Ungeheuer, at a press conference held in Mainz.
The company saw strong performances from its solar panel division, although automotive and ceramic cooktop products were held back. The pharmaceutical glass division put in a performance in line with the company’s expectations, and Ungeheuer said he expects it to continue to provide stability to the Schott group as a whole through the recession.
The pharma division has undergone considerable expansion during 2008, both in terms of its production capacity and geographic coverage.
The company opened a new manufacturing facility at the Chinese site in Suzhou, with an annual production capacity of 100 million pharmaceutical glass vials and ampoule bottles intended to serve mainly the domestic market. It also bought a 50 per cent share in India’s quality leader on pharmaceutical packaging products, Kaisha Manufacturers Pvt Ltd.
By September next year Schott will put a melting tank for manufacturing glass tubing into operation in Mainz. The company says it will then be able to produce up to 10,000 tons of Fiolax brand specialised glass tubing – suitable for making ampoules, vials and syringes - each year.
A Freedonia report predicted earlier this year that growth of the vial and syringe sector, which currently generates revenues of around $9.6bn (€7.1bn) a year, would continue.
The report suggested that demand in emerging pharmaceutical markets, coupled with the rising number of biologic medicines requiring administration by injection, would drive the expansion.
China, for example, will see demand for high-quality pharmaceutical packaging grow at an annual rate of 15 per cent with the rapid development of the pharmaceutical market, according to Ungeheuer.