Exclusive Exclusive: Leica Cameras Posts Record Sales, Vamps Up Chinese Cooperation

Leica, the German maker of the same-named rangefinder cameras, has ended its latest fiscal year with record sales, Handelsblatt has learned. Annual turnover climbed by 12 percent to €365 million year-on-year, chief executive Oliver Kaltner told Handelsblatt. Profits are on the rise as well, according to Mr. Kaltner. “We’ve posted an EBIT margin in the double digits,” he said in an exclusive Handelsblatt interview. The company, based in the central German city of Wetzlar, almost went bankrupt in 2004, but managed to turn around business and is back on a growth path. Now Leica has set a course for expansion. “We’re planning to open at least 10 more Leica stores and boutiques per year,” said Mr. Kaltner. The firm currently runs 34 Leica stores, and has 35 partner shops and 135 shop-in-shop boutiques. Leica has also confirmed it is in close cooperation with Chinese tech company Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. “The cooperation is a new chapter in Leica’s history and of course is meant to be long-term,” said Andreas Kaufmann, majority shareholder and head of the non-executive supervisory board. “Camera modules in smartphones have to be compact,” Mr. Kaufmann said of the collaboration, adding: “Photographic sophistication can still be improved with our help.”   Read the full story in Tuesday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Picture source: DPA