In the 2017 financial year, the Tower Cranes division achieved sales revenues of €537 million. This represents a €127 million (or 31.0 %) sales increase compared to the previous year.
The business climate for the Tower Cranes division in 2017 was marked by renewed intensification in price pressure. This is primarily due to the decline in investment appetite outside Europe. Furthermore, the industry-wide trend towards more rental and used machinery continued, which also had an impact on business development.
Positive influences on sales primarily consisted of rising construction volumes in Germany, the Benelux and Scandinavia, as well as the implementation of several major projects, including “Grand Paris” in France. For these reasons, business was very favourable in general. At the end of the financial year, sales figures had reached a total of approximately €537 million, representing a nearly 31.0 % increase.
New equipment sales were critical to the division’s growth.
Concentration on Western European markets
In terms of regional developments, sales growth was clearly concentrated in the Western European markets. In Germany, the division even reported a 41.8 % or €47 million increase in sales. There was hardly any increase in demand in Eastern Europe, even the turnover in Russia grew by 40.2 %. On the American continent the revenue increased by 18.6 %, in the Far East / Australia as well as the Near and Middle East, the Tower Cranes division achieved a sales increase of about 15 %, respectively.
New equipment sales were critical to the division’s growth, with a €64 million increase over the year before. Outstanding performers included bottom-slewing cranes, top-slewing cranes as well as mobile construction cranes. There was a slight downturn only in the sale of luffing jib cranes. The division also succeeded in significantly increasing revenues with rental and used machinery. The individual projects business, which led to several major contracts in recent years, was largely absent last year.
Many developments completed
In product development, the division reached several milestones last year. Prototype construction for a new, large bottom-slewing crane completed, along with the development of the 190 HC-L and 230 HC-L top-slewing cranes. Development of the first flat-top crane in the new EC-B series also wrapped up. Despite significant reductions in the weight of the components, maximum load capacities were successfully increased by 19.0 %. Development is also under way for the second model in the new EC-B series.
Development for the high-strength fibre rope soLITE® is now nearly completed. At the moment, the new rope technology is being tested in the field to gather additional data in anticipation of the 2019 market launch at the Bauma trade fair.
Furthermore, the division’s experts kicked off last year by developing crane software for a new control generation. The control hardware was developed in-house by Liebherr and is now being used by multiple plants within the Group. This project aims to standardise input devices, such as displays, throughout all crane series, establishing uniform menu navigation for many Liebherr machines.
With an investment volume of around €70 million in the reporting year, the Tower Cranes division maintained the same level of investment as 2016. In particular, investments were devoted to expanding the rental park.
Business is expected to develop at a similar high level in the year ahead, thanks to the high volume of orders on hand and a stable business environment in the core region of Western Europe.