ZIRNDORF, GERMANY -- The company that makes Playmobil toys is investing 30 million euros ($40 million) in injection molding after a successful 2012 boosted sales 5.3 percent to 531 million euros ($710 million).
Geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co KG, headquartered in Zirndorf, is investing 12 million euros ($16 million) in modernizing production sites in Germany, Malta and the Czech Republic. It has also acquired a systems manufacturer close to a plant in Cheb, the Czech Republic, adding another 50 injection molding machines to its production capacities.
"We use injection molding machines by Austrian manufacturers like Battenfeld, German manufacturers like Krauss Maffei, Demag or Ferromatik, and our smallest machines injecting tiny little pieces like tooth brushes or mice come from Italy - Babyplast," the company told European Plastics News.
Playmobil uses injection molding machines of sizes between 6 and 3,200 tons.
The toy maker is investing in production after achieving a "global record" in sales to retail. The 5 percent increase in sales also helped to grow sales of parent group Brandstätter Group by just less than 5 percent to 591 million euros ($792 million).
"Looking at the difficult overall economic situation our goal was to achieve sales growth in the mid single digit range," Playmobil general manager Andrea Scauer said in a statement. "Thanks to a high rate of innovation, we achieved that goal. Right on target, so to speak."
The firm has consistently achieved growth since 2001, apart from a slight dip in sales in 2011.
"The slight decline of -0.9 percent in sales to 2011 can only be seen as a consolidation after all these years of increase," said a spokesperson. "Still in 2011 we had reached a record in quantity of shipping a company record of 55 million boxes."
In its home market of Germany, Playmobil increased its market share to 7.5 percent last year, making the company the third largest toy manufacturer after Lego and Mattel. Growth was also strong in the United Kingdom, France and Spain.
The firm increased staff numbers to 3,701, 2,016 of whom are in Germany. By mid-year 2012, the workforce was 5 percent larger than in 2011.
Looking forward, the company plans to invest 100 million euros in growth ($134 million). As well as the 30 million euros going into injection molding, the firm is planning a new logistics center in Germany.