LEMKEN, the specialist for professional arable farming, has successfully maintained a strong business position in a generally difficult market environment and has developed more strongly than the overall market, achieving net profits of EUR327 million, corresponding to a decrease of 4.7% compared to the prior year. The number of permanent LEMKEN employees globally increased by 30 to reach 1,307 at the end of the year.
Managing Director Anthony van der Ley was satisfied with this achievement and commented that “2015 brought a lot of uncertainties and fluctuation. The income situation among farmers in Germany, France and the United Kingdom is subdued, due to low prices.” Sales in the domestic German market correspondingly decreased to EUR90 million after an outstanding prior year. Internationally, the LEMKEN team has, in contrast, been able to sustain the Group’s high level of sales. Most Central European markets, including Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, experienced growth in fact, and sales in Ukraine surpassed expectations. Business in Russia, in contrast, suffered from political restrictions and currency movements, although a good level of sales was still achieved due to the outstanding commitment of LEMKEN’s sales partners. In France, LEMKEN’s largest international market, farmers’ poor income situation resulted in lower sales, although LEMKEN was still able to expand its market position. Sales in the United Kingdom decreased slightly.
Canada and China are among the Group’s more recent sales markets, where LEMKEN again achieved sales successes due to its broadly based sales and service infrastructure. The Group’s export share increased to 73% as a consequence.
Of the total 13,370 implements sold in 2015, ploughs and stubble cultivation implements combined made up the largest portion (23% each), followed by sowing (25%) and crop protection (5%) implements. The new implements to be launched on the markets in 2016 include the Vega trailed sprayer, the updated Heliodor 9 compact disc harrow (from 3 metres working width now available with up to 16 metres) and the Juwel mounted plough in a version with mechanical tilt control.
However, LEMKEN invested not only in innovative implements in 2015; the Group additionally made substantial, EUR33 million investments in buildings and facilities. The new, state-of-the-art production facility in Haren (Emsland) was completed, where all mounted and trailed field sprayers will be manufactured from this year onwards. The new development facility in Alpen was commissioned, which provides space for more than 100 engineers and includes an integrated test hall, and new halls extending over an area of 10,000 m² were built to house a larger and more sophisticated manufacturing facility for individual parts.
For this year, LEMKEN, a medium-sized family business, is expecting a slight increase in business volume, and the company is planning to invest further despite the current market weakness. The projects already initiated for 2016 include improvements to the company’s logistics and associated efficiency gains in the extended manufacturing areas. LEMKEN also plans to restructure the entire service department to align it even better with customer needs. The AgroFarm for field training events and the new LEMKEN sales and service location near Orleans (France) are expected to be completed by June and October 2016 respectively.