Mobile and maritime cranes boost Liebherr in 2023

Yellow Liebherr LTM 1650-8.1 crane at work in Frankfurt Replacing air coolers on the roof of a building in Frankfurt, Germany, using a 700 tonne capacity Liebherr LTM 1650-8.1 wheeled mobile telescopic crane. Photo: Liebherr

Construction equipment and crane manufacturer Liebherr Group posted sales of €14 billion, up 11.5 per cent on the previous year.

The extra €1.453 billion was generated in 11 of the group’s 13 divisions. Net income was €367 million.

Geographically there was growth almost everywhere. It was “a satisfying revenue increase” in Europe, being particularly good in France, Germany and Spain, the company said. A slight decline was reported in non-EU countries. Performance was described as extremely encouraging in North America, Asia and Oceania. Revenue was good from Africa, the near East and the Middle East.

Research and development is a high priority at Liebherr where €634 million was invested in 2023, the majority of which went into new product development. Alternative drive systems, digitalisation and automation were the key focus.

Even more than that, €1.03 billion, was invested in factories, distribution and service. That was €167 million more than in 2022.

Crane sales up overall

As a single product type cranes accounted for the largest proportion of the group’s sales. Combined, the three crane divisions generated a total of €4.939 billion, or just over 35 % of the group’s total sales for 2023.

By crane division, sales in wheeled and crawler mobile cranes were €3.452 billion, up €443 million or 14.7 per cent, on the €3.009 billion of 2022. Europe accounted for the largest share, with 42.2 % of the total, followed by North America with 27.8 % and then Asia and Oceania with 13 %. Non-EU countries were 8.1 %, Africa and the Middle East 6.2 % with Central and South America taking 2.7 %.

In outlook the company said, “Based on a good order situation, Liebherr is optimistic about the year 2024 in the mobile and crawler cranes product segment and expects renewed growth.”

Tower crane division sales were €510 million, down 9.1 % on the €561 million of the previous year. The decline was largely attributed to there being less construction activity in Europe, the product’s main market. Sales were also down in Asia and Oceania but they were up in the Americas, Africa, the Near East and the Middle East. Considering the already difficult market, the company forecast a further decline in tower crane sales for 2024.

It was a different story in the Maritime crane division in 2023 where a strong 20.3 % increase was achieved. Sales were €977 million, up by €165 million.

The company said it managed to sell more mobile harbour cranes even though the total world market was smaller than the year before. It also achieved higher sales in its offshore crane sector and in the ship and container crane markets.

Looking ahead the company forecast 2024 to be a challenging year for the group.


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