bounced back 39% in Europe, concentrated on a limited number of large customers in Germany and Eastern Europe, France and Italy, with growth exceeding 50% in each of these regions. We are continuing our development in Asia-Pacific, especially in China, where orders grew by 45%. Added to these strong performances we scored some large sales successes, in PLM notably, with prestigious brands in China, France, Italy and South Korea. This, along with deepening partnerships with our major global customers demonstrates the relevance of our strategy and the value of our offer. The 21% decline in the Americas was due both to a series of renegotiations between car manufacturers and suppliers in the first part of the year, which held back investments, and to poor internal performance. In the rest of the world, the 18% fall stemmed from our strategy of focusing on our largest customers. What is the status of your transformation plan? ANDRÉ HARARI: We decided at the end of 2011 to give precedence to our long-term strategy and accelerate the company’s transformation. We wanted to prepare the company for the challenges of the post-crisis economic landscape and enable it to seize the resulting opportunities. We committed to €50 million investments for the future over the 2012-2015 period, with three objectives: to strengthen our worldwide sales and marketing teams significantly, keep innovation at the heart of our
Daniel Harari Chief Executive Officer —
“Added to these strong performances we scored some large sales successes, and this, along with deepening partnerships with our major global customers demonstrates the relevance of our strategy and the value of our offer.”
strategy, and accelerate our investments in marketing. DANIEL HARARI: The recruitment program for our consulting, marketing and software R&D teams has now been completed. Investments in marketing have enhanced Lectra’s image and raised its profile, thanks in particular to our new lectra.com website, increasingly rich customer testimonials and a global communications campaign in the fashion and apparel sectors. This investment effort will be maintained and even increased in 2015. On the other hand, recruitment of sales teams is generally behind schedule, while hiring for Corporate and China teams has been completed. We reviewed the plan at the end of 2014 to readjust our hiring among the different geographic markets and market sectors, and also to increase the number of pre-sales consultants, a vital evolution given the growing strategic importance for the company’s customers in investing in Lectra technologies.
ANDRÉ HARARI: The transformation plan will be completed at the end of 2015, as planned, with a reallocation of resources toward the most strategically important activities as well as the geographical markets and market sectors with the greatest growth potential.
What’s your analysis of the company’s share price increase? ANDRÉ HARARI: Our shareholders have renewed their confidence in us year after year. That, and the confidence of those who have joined us more recently, encourages us to pursue our strategy with determination and to successfully complete our investments for the future. After rising 75% in 2013, our share price gained a further 10% in 2014, closing the year at €9.14, a level unseen since 2001. But the true proof of our success will be our capacity to go on delivering the numbers spelled out in our roadmap quarter by quarter, and to reach our 2016 financial goals.