The past year has been a difficult time for companies worldwide. Large companies, like the Liebherr Group, are not exempt from the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Liebherr Group reported a $12,611 million turnover — a decline of 12 percent. In comparison to successful years prior, the company considers this year satisfactory.
Despite initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Liebherr still received a strong volume of orders in the first quarter of 2020. However, as the year went by, the pandemic took a toll on various economic factors including sales revenue. The company reported a decline in all segments, excluding refrigerating and freezing.
The United States, reflecting the sales in the European Union, received a decrease in sales along with Central and South America, Africa, and the Near and Middle East. However, Austria and Poland had a growth in business, while Asia and Oceania remained stable —primarily due to the demand from China and Australia.
Although the company received a decrease in sales, it remains positive. In light of COVID-19 impacts, the company remained stable in regard to number of employees.
The 2021 Liebherr Group looks ahead
The Liebherr Group forecasts a favorable year ahead — leading with a strong first quarter. The company received a significant increase in sales in 2021, following growing economic opportunities.
However, the company is unsure about the speed of macroeconomic recovery including international trade and economic policies around debt prevention.
Investing in the future
In the past year, the Liebherr Group, known for its role in shaping technological progress, invested about $624 million in research and development, aiming to provide innovative new products. Specifically, the research was aimed to alternative drivetrain technologies.
In 2020, Liebherr expanded its product portfolio in mobile and crawler crane markets, as well as concrete technology, mining and aerospace, and transportation systems.
The Liebherr Group focused on digitization, providing a smart monitoring system that monitors appliances with a web-based dashboard for the refrigeration and freezing product segment.
Technology and development is not the only thing that the Liebherr Group invested in this past year. The company identified a need in its production sites, global distribution and service networks.
However, the amount of investment decreased by $184 million compared to the previous year.
Investments went towards:
- A “Liebherr Tech-Center” for high-quality automation testing.
- A new site in Ulm, Germany for refrigeration and freezing — where the sales and services operate.
- New headquarters of Liebherr Panama S.A. in Panama City.
- Liebherr-Transportation Systems (China) Co., Ltd. started production in the Zheijiang Province.
- A new factory for building high value components.
- Preparations for gear assembly in India.
Information and insights provided by Liebherr-International AG and edited by Chantal Zimmermann.