The Wacker Neuson Group is claiming a strong financial performance for the start of 2023. The firm says that it is benefiting from significant growth, with group revenue up 27.9% in the first quarter to €667.2 million and the EBIT having increased disproportionately by 124.6% to €87.8 million. This last has been due to a one-time effect from the sale of fixed assets.
The firm’s EBIT margin of 13.2% at the beginning of the year is still well above the target corridor, as expected while the net working capital ratio of 30% is within the strategic target range.
The encouraging performance has been achieved despite a persistently difficult macroeconomic environment.
The increase in profitability compared to the same period of the previous year is attributable on the one hand to the adjustment of selling prices to reflect increases in the cost of materials and to greater flexibility in pricing models. A sale of fixed assets no longer required for operations, which was completed in January, resulted in an extraordinary positive earnings effect of around €15 million.
"As anticipated in our annual guidance, we have carried the full momentum from previous quarters into the new fiscal year and continued to grow significantly. At the same time, we continue to expect the first quarter to also be the strongest of 2023," reminds Dr Karl Tragl, chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of the Wacker Neuson Group.
As in previous quarters, all three reporting regions contributed to growth in the first quarter with high increases. In the Europe (EMEA) region, revenue rose by 22.4% to €504 million. This growth was driven by consistently good demand in all submarkets, with the home market of Germany showing particularly positive growth. On the product side, demand for excavators, wheel loaders and telehandlers in particular increased noticeably.
As in the previous year, the Americas region was characterised by particularly significant growth of 57% to revenue of €142.6 million. The US market in particular saw a sharp year-on-year increase in demand, but demand also developed very positively overall in Canada and the South American markets. Wacker Neuson continues to increase the number of affiliated dealers in North America, thus laying the foundation for further growth in the region.
The Asia-Pacific region also increased its sales once again. Revenue here increased by 7.3% to € 20.6 million. Growth in the region continued to be driven primarily by the Australian market. Products adapted to the needs of the local market and the focus on independent rental companies continued to generate strong demand. By contrast, the Chinese market continued to prove difficult and declined in the first quarter.
"The issue of supply chains continues to shape our day-to-day business. However, against the backdrop of a slight improvement in availability, we were also able to reduce our net working capital ratio," explained Christoph Burkhard, CFO of the Wacker Neuson Group. "However, we are still a long way from a normalisation of the situation. However, the continued increase in inventory levels paid off in the first quarter as we systematically exploited our growth opportunities. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that effective working capital management remains at the top of our agenda."
Despite the positive start to the year and the fundamentally positive outlook for the company, the Executive Board still sees an increased risk in the second half of the year with regard to significant changes in the economic environment. Accordingly, the Executive Board confirms its guidance for business development in 2023 as a whole published in the Annual Report 2022, which assumes revenue of between €2.3 and 2.5 billion and an EBIT margin of between 9.5 and 10.5%.