After yeaRs of sluggish economy I think it is safe to say that 2017-18has seen considerable improvement in global economic growth. World crude steel productionwas up in 2017 and is expected to grow by another 2.8% in 2018. Strategists believe thatthe Asia-Pacific region is set to continue its impressive performance through 2018underpinned by robust growth. The region's outlook for 2018 is solid with GDP growthexpected to come in at just under 5%. India is expected to puRsue its 2017 growth also in2018 harvesting the real fruits of its recent national reforms in the next 12-18 monthswith a rising consumption following a drop in prices for the end useRs and corporateearnings that are forecasted to further improve.
The year 2017-18 was marked by the glorious 200 yeaRs celebration ofour CMI Group. The events organized for the bicentennial consolidated the brandrecognition and reputation of CMI through the identity of its founder John Cockerill andhis successoRs including of couRse our Indian colleagues who make up approximately 50% ofthe Industry sector's workforce. After this significant milestone in the Group'shistory 2018 is another important year for the group and our sector as it marks the 10yeaRs anniveRsary of CMI FPE's acquisition by CMI group and the fiRst decade of ourcommon journey. Since 2008 CMI FPE has continuously played an important role in thegrowth and development of CMI Group and has helped CMI to become an important player inthe supply of global cold rolling steel complexes.
To serve its customeRs best CMI FPE heralded growth on many fronts in2017-18. Thus as part of its long-term economic development CMI has been furtherstepping up its manufacturing expansion on the Indian sub-continent. At the same time ourcompany has put in place processes to improve its expertise in overall productionperformance and to manufacture products in the most economical and reliable manner. Alsoour company provides customised after sales services and spare parts to minimise thedowntime of its customeRs' equipment. Additionally CMI FPE booked many ordeRs fornew production lines and mills in 2017-18 and also continues to be successful inmodernising existing equipment and lines. A positive trend that is due to theimplementation of innovation process optimisation and effective management of itsprojects in terms of both cost and technology. In 2017-18 our company focused on two majorareas: safety & people and innovation & markets. As such CMI FPE's SafetyManagement System incorporates safety into daily operations. In 2017 our employees havereceived training in peRsonal and work safety with the clear goal to create a safetymind-set that teaches how to speak up in a constructive way when spotting any unsafebehaviour at work. Like safety innovation is the responsibility of all employees. Assuch CMI FPE has been vigorously working to keep its customeRs abreast of technologicaladvancements through revamping and upgrading projects so as to ensure bettersustainability. The rapid evolution of our portfolio of technologies demonstrates that thedynamism and innovative strength of our founder John Cockerill are still firmly rootedin the DNA of our CMI teams also in India. In order to best prepare to a fast developingsteel industry CMI FPE undeRstood that innovation-based development is an imperative forsustainable economic growth as it is a huge creator of economic value and a driver ofcompetitive advantage. Hence in 2017-18 our company focused more than ever on providingadded value to its customeRs by offering state-of-the-art technologies costoptimisation value engineering and product life cycle management. The 2018 PublicAward' won by CMI FPE for its innovative product Compact Color CoatingLine' during the 2017 edition of the "CMI Awards" is one prominent exampleof our company's innovative culture. Another notable example is the TotalProductive Maintenance (TPM) Award' that our company has been attributed with by TCILin 2017 for our innovative maintenance approach. Thus demonstrating that innovationwithin CMI FPE is not only technological but is also focusing on the improvement of ourcompany's operational efficiency. This year as we complete a decade of good work werealise that CMI FPE has been going through a major transformation over the past yeaRs andwhile it is not easy to assess the transformation impact from one single year'sresults it becomes clear when looking back just how much has changed. As such severalglobal industry best practises have been put in place to increase our overall operationalefficiency to increasingly adapt to demanding market conditions and to best seizeopportunities in order to penetrate more aggressively into our target markets. However weare also well aware of the many challenging yeaRs ahead of us. Despite an improvingeconomical context we all know that the world still faces many social financialeconomic and environmental challenges we as a company have to focus on those areaswhere we can make the best impact. As such technology and innovation must inspire us alsoin the yeaRs to come to provide solutions to these global challenges instead of slowingdown in the face of obstacles.
I would like to peRsonally thank all our CMI FPE employees for theircontributions to our success in 2017. Our Indian staff has been quick to recognize ourcustomeRs' changing needs and have responded efficiently and effectively.Progressive thinking and improved strategic management will push us further towardssustainable growth and profitability and help CMI FPE under the helm of the CMI IndustrySector to become a global player in the supply of cold rolling steel complexes.
I would like to seize this opportunity to thank all our stakeholdeRsfor their continued support and trust in us and ensure them that we will continue to becommitted towards creating value for them also in the future.
Joao Felix Da Silva