2019 was a special year for Rosenbauer in many respects – an anniversary year, a year of change, a year of growth, and a year of preparations for a dynamic future.
In 2019, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our initial public offering. It is therefore worth looking a little further back in our history than just the last twelve months. The revenues from the IPO in 1994 were invested in the expansion of our Group with a great deal of strategic consideration. Our local presence in the key firefighting markets of the USA and Germany was established through company acquisitions, and has been steadily expanded over the years.
As an international company with production facilities on three continents, we have developed from a hidden champion to probably the only true global player in the industry. Rosenbauer has remained a company dedicated exclusively to serving the needs of the fire service. Our competitors are either much smaller, or part of a conglomerate whose focus is not exclusively on fire services. The combination of our leading technological position with industrial production, a global presence and a stable core shareholder gives us a unique strategic position that we use for long-term, positive corporate development.
2019 was a year of change. In our Rosenbauer America subgroup, our co-owners Harold Boer and Kevin Kirvida withdrew from operating activities. They can look back proudly on the extremely successful development of their family companies within the Rosenbauer Group. After more than four decades under the leadership of Harold and Kevin, a new era is now beginning for Rosenbauer America. In John Slawson we are delighted to have gained a top manager with industry experience as a CEO, who will continue to expand our strong market position in the US and Canada.
2019 was a year of growth. With pleasing market success, we were manufacturing at full capacity for almost the entire year. € 978.1 million in revenues represents an almost 8% increase over the previous year, enabling us to defy the general economic downturn. In general, we are seeing a slight but continuous increase in global spending on civil protection, making our industry attractive for the future. Due to individual major projects with tight margins, the past year did not quite meet our expectations in terms of income. However, after a slow start, we were able to present an improvement in EBIT of € 51.9 million.
2019 was also a year of preparations, in which we hopefully laid many foundations for future success. On the production side, we automated pipe production at Rosenbauer Brandschutz in Mogendorf and ladder welding at Rosenbauer Karlsruhe, expanded production in the USA and commissioned a new logistics center in Asten near Linz.
In almost all product areas, innovation projects to renew our product range have been and are being carried out. As an example of the many new products, I would like to mention our contribution to e-mobility: the fire service vehicle of the future, the Concept Fire Truck (CFT), which is currently being produced in the first pilot series. This product has resulted in great enthusiasm worldwide.
An outstanding milestone in this context is the sale of one of the first CFTs to the Los Angeles Fire Department. It will be the first European municipal vehicle in the USA, demonstrating that innovative sustainability technologies can lead to worldwide market success, even in traditionally inaccessible areas.
Digital solutions will significantly change our industry in the coming years. To prepare ourselves for this in the best possible way, we have, together with LIMAK Austrian Business School, launched a tailored management development program in which our employees work specifically on new business models for the future.
It is our ambitious employees to whom we ultimately owe our success, as well as you, our shareholders, who have remained loyal to us for over 25 years now. A huge thank you for this! Together we will succeed in making 2020 a successful year, despite the current economic uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.