LEMKEN continues to invest
For LEMKEN, the specialist for professional crop production, the 2014 business year brought a slight slowdown after three successive years of outstanding results. The LEMKEN Group recorded total sales of EUR345 million, that is a decrease by 5 per cent compared to the previous year. However, the company at the same time achieved the second best sales volume in its history.
Anthony van der Ley, Managing Director, is happy with the result: "We not only maintained our market position in a difficult environment, especially with regard to various political crises, but even expanded it." In Germany, LEMKEN achieved sales totalling EUR102 million, further consolidating last year's very good results and establishing itself as the market leader. However, sales weakened in Eastern Europe and in France, which was affected by economic factors, resulting in the company's export rate decreasing by 2 percentage points to 70 per cent. This result was also affected by the substantial deterioration of exchange rates in Russia and Ukraine, two of LEMKEN's major export markets.LEMKEN's innovative implement technology is represented in over 50 international markets, allowing the company to offset variations in individual regions. Business in the remaining western European and southern regions, for example, continued to develop positively. LEMKEN's own assembly plant in Qingdao, China, produces implements for the local market, and the company's well organised, effective sales team achieved substantially increased sales there. Sales also developed very positively in Canada, where LEMKEN compact disc harrows were in particularly high demand.
In total, more than 14,400 implements were manufactured at LEMKEN's German sites in Alpen, Föhren and Meppen in the past year. The new implements to be launched in 2015 include the Gemini front tank, the high-end Zirkon 12 rotary harrow with a full range of 3- to 6-metre models, and the semi-mounted Karat with Contour Track, LEMKEN's award-winning soil contour adaptation system.
For the current year, the company expects another slight decrease in sales volumes in view of ongoing uncertainty on the markets. These expectations are in line with industry trends. However, LEMKEN will continue to pursue its long-term plans, as the fundamental market factors have remained positive and the trend towards increased professionalisation in agriculture is expected to continue. "That's why we will continue to invest in our company's expansion and modern manufacturing technologies despite the current weakness of the market. Our ongoing projects have a strong focus on development, quality and service", van der Ley continued.
LEMKEN invested a total of EUR22 million last year, among others for extensions to the company's incoming goods and pre-manufacturing halls. This year, it expects to complete its new development facility, which will house more than 100 engineers and also comprise a testing hall. A new field sprayer manufacturing site in Haren, a large AgroFarm for training purposes, and a modern sales facility in France are also being planned.In 2014, LEMKEN employed additional staff and implemented a number of organisational changes in view of the company's strong growth in recent years. It enlarged its quality assurance and project management departments, employed new engineers and a new Head of Design, and expanded its executive management team by a new Head of Sales. At the end of 2014, LEMKEN employed a total of 1,277 permanent staff globally, 139 more than a year before.
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