The international economic situation continued to recover in 2014, though to different extents from one country to another. Global economic growth for the year was 3.4%. At +1.8% compared with the previous year, the dynamism of the developed national economies slightly increased. Economic growth dropped slightly in emerging markets, with growth of 4.6 % in the past year compared with 5.0% in 2013.
Liebherr’s construction machinery and mining division achieved a turnover of 5,294 million €, 336 million € or 6.0% below the previous year’s figure. The result was positive, however, in the area represented by the maritime cranes, aerospace and transportation systems, machine tools and automation systems, domestic appliances, components and hotels divisions, with an increase in turnover of 195 million € or 5.8% to 3,529 million €.
The business year in Western Europe progressed satisfactorily for the Liebherr Group. In Germany, the Group’s largest market, turnover exceeded the previous year’s figure. The pattern of business was also positive in America, with a satisfying increase in the USA in particular. Turnover dropped in the Far East / Australia region. Very weak dynamic growth in Russia, the Group’s largest Eastern European market, had a distinct effect on the region’s overall turnover. Sales revenue also fell on the African continent. In the Near and Middle East the Group achieved turnover slightly above the previous year’s level.
The number of people employed by Liebherr Group companies rose again last year. At the end of 2014 the worldwide total was 40,839, this was 1,415 employees or 3.6% more than in the previous year.
The Liebherr Group attaches great importance to investment in production and in worldwide sales and service, in order to pave the way for continued successful development. The level of investment has been consistently high: last year the Group invested a total of 816 million € in the expansion and modernisation of its worldwide production network an in strengthening its sales and service organisation. Offset against these investments were depreciation totalling 427 million €.
The Liebherr Group aims to exert a significant influence on technological progress in the business sectors in which it is active. For a high level of innovative power it is essential to invest considerable funds continually in research and development work. In the past year the Group allocated 446 million € for this purpose.
The Liebherr Group views the current year with optimism. Total turnover is expected to rise. All Group divisions are expected to develop positively or at least to equal last year’s turnover. Divisions that will probably exhibit especially dynamic growth are earthmoving, tower cranes, machine tools and automation systems and the other products and services area. The Liebherr Group’s investments in product development, production and the sales and service network on all continents will again easily exceed depreciation. This will be accompanied by a further increase in the size of the workforce.