Although 2009 sales at injection molding machine producer Arburg GmbH + Co. KG dropped 38 percent, the company pointed out that it has weathered the recession without cutting staff.
Arburg released the sales figures last week at its Technology Days open house at its Lossburg headquarters. The company revealed that its 2009 sales had dropped 38 percent to around 214 million euros ($285 million).
This follows a 16 percent decline in 2008 to 344 million euros ($458 million) from 409 million euros ($545 million) in 2007.
Managing partner Michael Hehl said, As a strong family company with a solid company policy, we have been able to withstand this difficult time without dismissals and therefore have highly qualified and highly motivated employees available for the future.
Sales director Helmut Heinson added that Arburg is the only major European injection molding machine producer that has not dismissed staff, and I can tell you that we will not do so.
Hehl said the company ended short-time working schedules in November.
Recent statistics indicate that German plastics and rubber machinery sales rose 35 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, and Heinson said Arburg had not done much worse than the average, with its orders in the period having climbed around 30 percent.
There was a marked drop in machinery sales for automotive applications, Arburg's largest market, Heinson said. Medical and packaging sales also fell, but by less, he said.
The German market had been very difficult, but sales in Asia, particularly China, and in South America had been hardly affected, according to Heinson. In Europe, there has been a marked shift in sales to central and Eastern Europe.
Heinson said data from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington point to a revival in the U.S. market. He described the Asia market as difficult, due to local competitors whom we are disturbing.
While Arburg has been active in India for three to four years, Heinson said this market of around 2,500-3,000 machines a year should be put into perspective against the much larger Chinese market of 30,000 machines a year in normal times.
India has similar dynamics as China and Arburg is competing in India [against] low-priced machines from local producers as well as with other European and Japanese suppliers, Heinson said.
As in 2009, Arburg said that it has no plans to produce in China, though half of its customers there are Chinese-owned companies. Arburg's China business began when it followed traditional European and U.S. customers as they invested there.
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