German machinery sales reach new record in 2011

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FRANKFURT, GERMANY (Feb. 22, 12:30 p.m. ET) – Sales from German plastics and rubber machinery reached 6 billion euros ($7.94 billion) in 2011, breaking a record that was set in 2008.

Sales to customers in Germany were up 18 percent, while deliveries to foreign customers was up 25 percent, according to VDMA, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association.

Demand lagged from euro-area countries, but they were still up 15 percent, according to the Frankfurt-based trade group.

“For the year as a whole, incoming orders were 3 percent ahead of the previous year’s high level. Growth rates declined month on month, however, and the last quarter’s figures were down albeit from the previous year’s very high base,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the VDMA, in a news release.

“For the year as a whole, incoming orders were 3 percent ahead of the previous year’s high level,” he said. “Growth rates declined month on month, however, and the last quarter’s figures were down albeit from the previous year’s very high base.

“Many firms have very full order books, keeping them busy for months ahead,” he said.

Exports are back to pre-crisis levels, according to VDMA.

“German manufacturers have achieved above-average growth in their exports to the US, China, Russia, Turkey and [South] Korea,” Reifenhäuser said. Exports will reach a new record of more than 4 billion euros ($5.29 billion).

About half the firms surveyed plan to increase their workforce in the first half of 2012. According to VDMA, nearly three-quarters of the firms added jobs in the first half of 2011, and more than two thirds added staff in Germany in the second half of the year.