Staffordshire firm JCB has announced record pre-tax profits of £187 million for 2007 following the most successful year in its 62-year history.
The result was achieved in a year when machine sales rose to more than 72,000 and turnover reached a new peak of £2.25 billion.
JCB Chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: “2007 saw JCB make great progress and it was our best-ever year. The outlook for the remainder of 2008 does look challenging but I believe we are well-placed to adapt to these difficult conditions.”
The pre-tax profits for 2007 were 25 per cent higher than the £149 million achieved in 2006. Last year sales rose by nearly 30 per cent from £1.75 billion and machine sales increased to record levels from the 2006 peak of 55,000 units.
Emerging markets provided the main source of business growth in 2007, particularly India, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and South America. New products and ranges accounted for 50 per cent of the growth.
In 2007, JCB’s share of the world construction equipment market rose to 12 per cent, up from 10.4 per cent in 2006. JCB also remained the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer by volume.
But the company warned of a tougher outlook for the rest of 2008 as the impact of the credit crunch and rapidly rising commodity prices take hold.
JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor said: “Trading conditions throughout 2008 will continue to be difficult because of the credit crunch. There are signs that the downturn in the North American market is now spreading into some western European markets. The recent high growth rates in some of the emerging markets are also now showing signs of slowing.”
JCB said its investment in new plants, products and customer support continues at record levels to underpin future growth, with the construction of the £40 million JCB Heavy Products factory in Uttoxeter; the new £7 million JCB Attachments factory in Uttoxeter, a £36 million extension to its Backhoe Loader plant in New Delhi, India and the future opening of a new £15 million parts centre and training facility in Savannah, USA. JCB is also launching 28 new products in 2008.