In 2017 Mapei Group celebrated 80 years of history and took another step forward in its process of growth and internationalisation. We reached a target which we are quite rightly proud of, but it also encourages us to keep looking forward. The year closed on a positive note. The Group registered an annual turnover of 2,406 million Euros, an increase of 5.4% on the previous year, which was already an increase of 4.7% on 2015. The profit margin for 2017 was 67.3 million Euros. We carried on growing in 2017, in spite of the unfavourable trend in exchange rates: in fact, the real growth against stable exchange rates would have been more than 7.5%. This trend influenced the overall results of the Group, which was also hit by the effect of the increased cost of raw materials and their limited availability. We are an increasingly global Group.
Our push towards internationalisation was consolidated in 2017 with new acquisitions in strategic areas where there is a lot of potential to expand our business. We have strengthened our presence in Latin America through the acquisition of a company in Colombia and invested heavily in Egypt, a particularly interesting area with plans to develop its infrastructures.
Internationalisation and research are the driving forces behind our growth. In 2017 we set a new record by exceeding the 100 million Euros mark for annual investments, which enabled us to increase the production capacity of our manufacturing facilities and commission new production lines so that the Company can provide a quicker response to market demands. Operations that involved Mapei’s presence all around the world, and in North America in particular. The significant increase in investments in 2017 was not only a response to the increase in demand at an international level; it also included R&D to enable our research centres to remain at the cutting-edge. Our Group focused its forces on particularly innovative projects such as analysis activities, the design and development of new products, the improvement of existing products and the development of highly innovative technology.