The company reported year-on-year increases in sales and net earnings for both Q4 and the full 12 months as it declared that demand had held up despite the headwinds that had buffeted the global economy.
But CEO and president Olivier Filliol warned the firm was not immune to the downturn.
"We had exceptional sales growth in 2011 due to healthy end markets and strong execution. Sales growth was better-than-expected in almost all geographic regions, with demand in Asia continuing to be robust,” he said.
Sales in the three months to the end of December climbed 8% to US$648m compared to the same period in 2010, while net earnings reached $94m, compared to $80m in the year before. Adjusted operating income rose slightly from $125m in 2010 to $132m.
Asia registered greatest sales growth at 16%, followed by Europe on 6% and then the Americas at 5%.
For the full year sales rose 13% to $2.3bn, with Asia once again leading growth with a 20% jump. Europe registered an 11% increase while the Americas saw sales rise 9%. Adjusted operating income also climbed 13% to $398m. Net earnings increased 16% to $269m.
The Mettler Toledo head hailed the sales performance in 2011 and predicted growth would continue in 2012, although at a slower pace.
“We expect growth to continue in 2012, although at a lower rate than in 2011, given current economic conditions and tougher year-over-year comparisons,” said Filliol.
He added: “We are not immune to economic changes and will remain alert for signs of a downturn. We believe we are strongly positioned to grow faster than our underlying markets and continue to capture share.”
Product inspection and emerging markets
Mettler flagged up the potential of its product inspection division particularly in emerging markets, such as China and Brazil.
“We see great potential in this product line as these economies further develop and packaged food becomes more commonplace and concerns about food safety remains,” said the Mettler chief.
While China continues to be its largest emerging market, it is also expanding product lines in Brazil and plans direct investments in Turkey, Vietnam and Indonesia “given the strong potential in these regions”.
In China, it said it is adding sales personnel in so-called second tier cities (with populations of between 5m and 7m). Filliol said they expected to open 10 new branches in the coming years
“Continued investments in emerging markets and new product development remained targets to secure sustainable growth,” said the CEO.