Press release

CLAAS is experiencing profitable growth in an improved market environment

CLAAS, one of the leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery worldwide, was able to increase its sales slightly in the 2017 financial year to 3.76 billion euros (previous year: 3.63 billion euros). Profit before taxes almost doubled to 184 million euros (previous year: 93 million euros).

  • Sales revenue up by 3.6% to 3.76 billion euros
  • Profit before taxes almost doubled to 184 million euros
  • Spending on research and development at a very high level
  • Record sales in Eastern Europe
  • Outlook for 2018: Positive sales trend, stable earnings

'We were able to hone in on growth in a stabilising agricultural engineering market and significantly improve our profitability at the same time. A strong boost was largely down to the Eastern European market, where good harvests led to a noticeably higher demand for modern agricultural technology,' said Hermann Lohbeck, spokesperson for the CLAAS Group Executive Board.

The global market for professional agricultural technology experienced growth this year. Yet despite very positive developments experienced in Eastern Europe and South America, the picture was more mixed in the rest of Europe and on the other continents. There were only slight improvements in terms of sales for CLAAS in Germany, whereas as expected sales in France fell significantly following the abolition of a special tax depreciation for farmers. Large markets such as China and the USA registered a further decline in sales.

Spending on research and development at a very high level

The investments made in research and development (217 million euros) remained at the same level as the previous year (221 million euros) and have doubled over the past ten years. More than eleven percent of CLAAS employees now work in research and development. The family business presented a wide range of innovations in a year marked by several leading international trade fairs. CLAAS won one gold and four silver medals within the framework of the innovation award presented by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) at the Agritechnica 2017 exhibition. The new AXION 900 large tractor and the SCORPION telescopic loader developed in cooperation with Liebherr were elected 'Machine of the Year'.

Working environment that promotes innovation brings additional stimuli

2017 has seen CLAAS not only investing in new products, but also in a working environment that promotes innovation. This is embodied by the completion of the new electronics development centre in Dissen, Lower Saxony, with which a further step towards the digital future is taken. A new test and inspection centre is being built in Harsewinkel and with the 'Greenhouse' - a co-working space for the development of future-oriented business models.

Slight drop in workforce worldwide

The number of employees around the world fell slightly to 10,961 as of 30 September 2017 (previous year: 11,300). This reflects the differing trends in the agricultural engineering markets worldwide as well as the cost-cutting initiatives implemented over the past few years. While additional employees were hired in Eastern Europe, their number in China reduced. CLAAS employs 5,102 employees in Germany, slightly down on the previous year (5,220). There was an apprenticeship quota of 7.9 per cent (previous year: 8.2 per cent).

CLAAS Group in numbers

 

 

 

(IFRS)

2017
in € m

2016
in € m

Change
%

Sales revenue

3,761.0

3,631.6

+3.6

EBITDA

335.7

251.9

+33.3

Profit before taxes

184.5

93.5

+97.3

Consolidated net income

115.4

37.6

+206.9

Free cash flow

209.6

118.5

+76.9

Equity

1,293.8

1,160.7

+11.5

Capital investments in fixed assets

130.7

122.2

+7.0

Research and development

217.6

221.4

−1.7

Balance sheet total

3,232.8

3,137.2

+3.0

Number of employees at the reporting date (30.9.)

10,961

11,300

−3.0

Outlook

CLAAS expects a moderate improvement in the global agricultural engineering markets for the current 2018 financial year. Drivers behind the increasing demand for professional agricultural technology include the strengthening of milk prices and the anticipated market recovery in France.  The profitability of farms is expected to increase slightly again in most parts of the world. CLAAS is therefore expecting a positive sales trend and stable earnings before taxes.