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Liebherr Group sees turnover decline by 12 percent to 10 billion euros

Liebherr mobile cranes
Great job in Denmark: Two Liebherr mobile cranes LTM 1750-9.1 at a wind turbine in Jutland.

In 2020, the Liebherr Group achieved a turnover of € 10,341 million. Compared to the previous year, the company posted a decline of € 1,409 million, or 12 percent. Following several successful years, and in the context of the pandemic, this is considered satisfactory.

Despite the modest slowdown of the global economy, Liebherr registered a strong volume of orders in the first quarter of 2020. Starting at the end of the first quarter, the coronavirus pandemic began to affect business activities in many markets. This also had an impact on the group's sales revenues. With the exception of refrigeration and freezing, every product segment experienced a decline in turnover.

Strong together: Two LHM 800 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes operate in tandem mode in the port of St. Petersburg (Russia). Together, the two machines can handle a load of up to 616 tons.

Revenues in the earthmoving, material handling technology, deep foundation machines, mobile and crawler cranes, tower cranes, concrete technology and mining product segments were 10.4 percent lower than in the previous year at € 6,848 million. Revenues outside construction and mining machines also fell. 

With the other product segments, including maritime cranes, aerospace and transportation systems, gear technology and automation systems, refrigeration and freezing, as well as components and hotels, Liebherr achieved a turnover of € 3,493 million, a 15 percent decrease compared to the previous year.

There was a downturn in sales in the European Union, which has traditionally been the group's strongest sales region. This was primarily due to declining sales in Germany and France; by contrast, business grew in Austria and Poland. Sales in non-EU countries as well as in North America also declined. Central and South America, Africa, and the Near and Middle East reported significantly lower turnover than the year before. Meanwhile, business was stable throughout the year in Asia and Oceania. This was thanks largely to strong demand from China and Australia.

In 2020, the Liebherr Group achieved a net profit for the year of €7 million. Operating results and the financial result also fell compared to 2019. In view of the year's challenges and extraordinary conditions, this can nevertheless be considered a success. Despite the significant decrease in turnover, the number of employees remained stable: At the end of 2020, Liebherr employed 47,925 people worldwide, that is just 124 employees fewer compared to the previous year.

Successful maiden flight: The Boeing 777X is equipped with Liebherr-Aerospace technology. © Boeing

Outlook for 2021

In the first quarter of 2021, order intake has already developed favourably across various product segments of the Liebherr Group, indicating a significant increase in sales in 2021. Overall economic opportunities arise from the global recovery of various industrial sectors in which the Liebherr Group is active in. 

At the same time, there is still uncertainty about the speed of macroeconomic recovery. For instance, it is unclear whether international trade will pick up or continue to decline, or whether the economic policies implemented by many governments can prevent debt from spiralling.

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