Wacker Construction Equipment AG increased sales and profit in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Sales rose 42.3 percent, from €160.4 million (about U.S. $248.4 million) in the same period a year ago to €228.2 million (about U.S. $353.3 million) this year, while EBITDA rose 20 percent from €24.5 million to €29.4 million (U.S. $45.5 million). The Wacker Group confirmed its outlook for fiscal 2008, expecting medium to long-term growth potential.
Wacker continued to pursue a growth-oriented strategy. “Our first-quarter sales and profit figures reflect the effects of the merger and the group’s high investment and sales activity, as planned,” said Dr. Georg Sick, CEO and president. Wacker invested heavily in expanding its rental business in Central and Eastern European countries where the company will not be competing with its customers. The company plans to invest more than €30 million in 2008, replacing third-party products in the rental pool with proprietary light and compact construction equipment. First-quarter investment was about €15 million (about U.S. 23 million).
Wacker also invested in demo fleets to launch its merger partner’s compact equipment through its established sales and service network in the United States, Switzerland and Australia.
The first quarter was also characterized by measures to integrate Neuson Kramer Baumaschinen AG and expand production capacities for Wacker affiliates Kramer-Werke GmbH (Germany) and Ground Heaters in the U.S. The company opened an affiliate in India.
Uncertainties caused by the property and mortgage crisis in the United States and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar caused softness in some countries, leading to a slowdown in new light equipment sales. While performance in Europe and Asia was strong, sales in the Americas dropped 15 percent year over year, although discounting exchange rate effects, the decrease was only 3.9 percent.
“Despite growing uncertainties regarding global economic development and the slight downturn in new light equipment sales in the U.S. and a few other countries, we remain confident of our medium to long-term prospects,” said Sick.
Wacker Neuson is based in Munich, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Menomonee Falls, Wis.