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CLAAS Delivers Top Performance
CLAAS Demonstrates Dynamism and Profitability
Financial year 2011 was a highly successful one for CLAAS. The company achieved the highest sales in its history, at €3,304.2 million, representing a rise of 33.5 % on the previous year’s figures and outperforming expectations. Furthermore, CLAAS was able to expand its market position in most product groups. At approximately €255 million, CLAAS’ income before taxes has more than tripled on the previous year’s value; in addition to this, the quality of the financial result has once again taken a leap, with the gross margin rising to 24.9%.
In technical terms, too, financial year 2011 was a record year. CLAAS brought the combine harvester to Europe 75 years ago and has sold 435,000 combines since then, plus a new combine harvesting World Record was set by a CLAAS LEXION 770 combine in September 2011. German specialist journalists have selected not one, but two CLAAS products as “Machine of the Year 2012” in the relevant categories: the JAGUAR 980 forage harvester and the AXION 900, which was launched onto the market in 2011 and is the highest powered standard tractor.
The CLAAS Executive Board (from the left): Jan-Hendrik Mohr, Dr. Henry Puhl, Hans Lampert, Dr. Theo Freye, Lothar Kriszun, Dr. Rolf Meuther, Dr. Hermann Garbers.
Positive Development in Agricultural Technology Markets
In the financial year just concluded, the general economic climate was characterized by global economic recovery. Starting from a low level, the agricultural technology sector has seen very positive development overall. In Western Europe, the markets for agricultural technology have made a recovery after two years of sharp decline. The highest level of market growth was apparent in Central and Eastern European countries, albeit from a markedly low level. The North and South American markets were on a high level and showed slight growth in some areas, while the markets in Asia continued to grow, as did the Indian market.
CLAAS continues to expand its market position
CLAAS has been able to further expand its market position in most product groups; for instance, sales of combines saw an emphatic rise and CLAAS improved its market position in this field.
As in the previous year, tractors came second to combines in terms of sales in the CLAAS Group. Here, too, CLAAS succeeded in expanding its market position in the majority of regions. In Western Europe alone, CLAAS saw growth of over 20% in tractor sales, considerably above the overall market growth of 13%.
Sales of forage harvesters climbed to record levels this year, confirming CLAAS’ world market leadership in this product area. This year saw the 30,000th JAGUAR leave the Harsewinkel production site.
Likewise, CLAAS achieved sales increases in forage wagons and balers, consolidating and in part slightly boosting its position. The company improved once again upon its good results of the previous year in the fields of replacement parts and accessories, used machinery, and its service business.
Production and Industrial Engineering
In its production engineering business field, CLAAS’ sales rose by €79.9 million, or 69.7 %, to €194.7 million in the year under review. Growth in orders from the automotive and aviation industries played a major part in this increase.
The industrial engineering business likewise benefited from favorable overall conditions, with financial year 2011 bringing a sales increase of €10.9 million, or 42.7 %, to €36.5 million. The principal purchasers of these products are customers from the agricultural, construction machinery, and municipal technology sectors.
Focus on Research and Development
One of CLAAS’ maxims is to be a first mover in agricultural technology: CLAAS products provide customers with innovative solutions which often constitute USPs. In order to consolidate and further expand this strong position, CLAAS has invested the highest-ever figure in its history in R&D in the financial year just concluded: €149 million.
Alongside a great number of innovations in its product range, CLAAS is currently driving the development of new technologies for the optimization of agricultural process chains; one of its projects in this area is EASY (Efficient Agriculture Systems by CLAAS). At the Agritechnica 2011 trade show, TONI (Telematics on Implement – data transfer from a tractor and an attached machine) and the NIR sensor technology on the JAGUAR – a new system that analysesforage quality in the discharge chute – were each awarded a medal.
The number of people employed by CLAAS has seen only a slight increase, standing at 9,060 as of September 30, 2011. CLAAS was well prepared to respond flexibly to renewed demand for up-to-date agricultural technology. The high degree to which the employees identify with their company and the excellent performance this identification generates are testament to the positive factors that characterize a family-run business.
Ready for the Future with Sound Financial Foundations
Over the last two years, CLAAS has stayed on course despite difficult market conditions, continuing to deliver positive results, and additionally made use of this period to prepare for the expected recovery. This meant that financial year 2011 saw the company in a position to achieve an outstanding performance in terms of sales and the financial result above and beyond the general recovery taking hold of the market. At the same time, CLAAS was able to increase its equity by €56 million to €870 million, and continues to maintain a strong position in terms of liquidity.
The world’s population currently stands at seven billion, with a further 144 added to that total every minute. This means an increasing need for food. In addition to this, changes in people’s eating habits are driving demand for high-quality foodstuffs. The growing significance of renewable energies is giving a further boost to the world’s need for crops. At the same time, less and less arable land is available, and it is beginning to be valued more highly, which goes hand in hand with greater use of up-to-the-minute agricultural technology. The overall importance of agriculture and agricultural technology is continuously on the rise.
In the context of these positive overall conditions, CLAAS is continuing to invest in a sophisticated product development program and in expanding its sales structures in Germany and abroad. The company is about to construct sites in China and Thailand. Alongside all this, CLAAS is placing high priority on further pursuing the courses of action initiated in previous years to boost efficiency and cut costs.
The indicators for the agricultural technology sector are continuing to confirm its overall buoyancy. On the basis of these evaluations of the situation, CLAAS anticipates that the dynamic growth seen in 2011 will be followed in the coming year by a moderate increase in sales and convincing results.
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