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 impact of our operations. We therefore consider the interests of customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders in all aspects of our operations.
2014 was a year of solid organic growth for Bekaert. We have been defending our strategic positions in highly competitive markets and in spite of a weakening final quarter, our volumes increased by 3%, on the wave of increased demand in automotive markets.
If you want to learn more about our financial and operational performance, we invite you to read our 2014 Annual Report and our 2014 Shareholders Guide, both available on our website.
Overall, we achieved better results than in 2013, but so far, we have not been able to reach our long-term profitability goals. We are determined to deliver upon these goals, aimed at driving sustainable profitable growth for our business.
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.
By encouraging continuous development and establishing an interdependent health and safety culture, we create value for our employees.
We strive to develop products and processes that contribute to a cleaner environment and focus on risk prevention and management.
We recognize that we also have a responsibility towards society. Education projects from the backbone of funding and other community-building activities. 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