The Liebherr Group claims that 2019 was another year of record setting for its financial performance. The firm saw a total turnover of €11.75 billion for 2019, an increase of €1.199 billion or 11.4 % compared with 2018.
This improvement came despite the slowdown in global economic growth. The company said that both its construction machinery and mining equipment divisions recorded overall increases in sales revenues, as did the other product areas. Revenues from construction machinery and mining equipment rose by 11.8 % to €7.64 billion, with contributions from the Earthmoving, Mobile Cranes, Tower Cranes, as well as Concrete Technology and Mining divisions.
According to Liebherr, the success of the 2019 business year can be attributed to its positive sales performance in almost all sales regions of the Liebherr Group. Sales continued to increase within the EU, which is Liebherr's most important sales region.
One reason for this is the favourable market development, especially in Germany and France, but also, for example, in Spain and Denmark. Positive growth also came from Russia and Norway. The Liebherr Group recorded its most significant increase in sales in North America. In Asia and Oceania this positive trend was driven in particular by the markets in Australia, China, Singapore and Japan. Slight increases in turnover were also achieved in Africa and in the Near and Middle East. There were only slight declines in Central and South America.
The Liebherr Group achieved a net profit of €429 million in 2019, an increase compared with the previous year, although operating result has fallen slightly compared to the previous year. The financial result showed a positive development.
The 2019 business year saw a significant increase in the workforce. At the end of the year, the Liebherr Group had a total of 48,049 employees worldwide, an increase of 1,880 compared to the previous year.
Liebherr invested €592 million in research and development during 2019. The bulk of this was used in the development of new products. A large number of research projects with universities, other higher education institutions, and research institutes were initiated and continued. A special area of focus for these research projects is the topic of electrification. Intensive work on alternative drive technologies was carried out for its construction machines.
Important issues across the wide range of products and services include digitisation, safety, and the automation of machines. For example assistance systems have been developed, which support the safe operation of construction machines. An important project in digital transformation is Condition Monitoring, which makes possible the monitoring of components in complex machines and systems.
In all, €756 million was invested in the production sites and the global sales and service network. This means the Liebherr Group reduced its investment activities by €73 million compared to the previous year, however, with an investment rate of approximately 6%, the Liebherr Group is still above the average of the mechanical engineering sector. Offset against this was depreciation of €541 million. A new production site for the Concrete Technology division was built in Bulgaria.
The Group’s order situation at the end of 2019 as well as far into the first quarter of 2020 can be described as very good. However, due to the impact of the Corona virus significantly restricted business activities in many markets will obviously influence the turnover in 2020. The extent to which business will be impacted cannot be forecasted reliably at the time this annual report is compiled. However, Liebherr says that the group will ensure that all organizational units have implemented the necessary measures to guarantee that customer demands are met reliably, also in 2020 and beyond.