U.K.-based manufacturer JCB maintained profitability in 2009 despite the deep recession in the global construction industry, with profit before tax increasing slightly to £29 million (about U.S. $44.8 million) despite sales dropping by a third to £1.35 billion (about U.S. $2.1 billion).
JCB said with the global market falling 46 percent in 2009, JCB increased its market share to an all-time high of 12.2 percent. The company said it grew its position in backhoe loaders to more than 40 percent of the global market, with its Loadall telehandler capturing 28 percent of worldwide sales.
“2009 was hugely challenging for the construction equipment industry,” said JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford. “The entire JCB organization pulled together magnificently to respond decisively to the unprecedented downturn, which was particularly severe in the first half of the year. Tough action was taken to adjust our cost base to align it to a much-reduced level of demand, and this resulted in an improving profit trend as the year progressed. We have created a strong platform for renewed profitable growth.”
JCB has begun a £20 million investment in a new generation of backhoe loaders, with the first of the new eco-range units recently rolling off the company’s Staffordshire production line in Union Jack colors and embarking on a tour of famous London landmarks to celebrate its launch and the company’s approaching 65th anniversary in October. The JCB 3CX Eco and 4CX Eco backhoe models will go into full production next month. The company said the units will use up to 16-percent less fuel compared to its predecessor.
“Despite the economic difficulties, we continued to invest in new products, with 11 innovative machines launched so far this year including the most fuel-efficient backhoe loader we’ve ever produced,” added Bramford.
Bramford said in the first half of 2010 the construction equipment industry has had a “strong recovery” in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and China, despite continuing softness in Europe and North America.
“On balance we expect to see a significant improvement in both sales and profits this year compared to 2009,” Bramford said.