2015 was a year of strong growth for Bekaert. We achieved 14% sales growth, reaching € 3.7 billion in consolidated revenue. REBIT increased by 36% to € 223 million, with a margin of more than 6%. This solid performance resulted in strong cash generation, allowing us to reduce net debt, in spite of the major acquisitions and capital investments of last year.
We grew our leading position in tire markets thanks to the integration of Pirelli’s steel cord activities, Bekaert’s largest acquisition in history. We also grew our position in mining markets by acquiring and integrating a ropes plant in Australia; and our largest deal is yet to come, with the announced merger of the ropes and advanced cords activities of Bekaert and Bridon.
We also exited some businesses last year and narrowed our focus on those parts of the business where we can really leverage our strengths and create value. We ended some partnerships where they were creating too much non value-adding complexity and limiting our options going forward. So we took full ownership, or prepared for an exit.
In 2015 we increased the mix of innovative and higher value adding products, which help lower total costs for our customers. This has been especially significant within the growth of the steel cord and sawing wire businesses.