The six-year-long phase of exceptional growth in the German construction equipment and building materials machinery industry has come to an end. Orders in the period October to December 2008 fell by over 30% compared to the very high level in the same period of 2007. The manufacturers of construction machinery and equipment have been hit hardest.
Overall, however, the industry is satisfied with its turnover in 2008. The German manufacturers of construction, building materials, glass and ceramics machinery increased their sales last year by another seven percent to € 16.4 bill. Construction machinery accounted for € 11.1 bill. of this total, building materials, glass and ceramics machinery € 5.3 bill. While the sales for construction equipment stagnated, the building materials, glass and ceramics machinery suppliers registered a big fat increase in sales compared to the previous year. Again they particularly improved their export business.
Dr Christof Kemmann, Chairman of the VDMA Construction Equipment and Building Material Machinery Association, does not see any structural problem in the industry as a cause for the difficult situation at present. In six growth years in succession, the companies had more than doubled their sales (+ 113%). He emphasized that the companies could even cope with a sales decline in the lower double-figures. Despite the crisis. the German construction equipment and building materials machinery industry remains in an excellent position with regard to international competition. It has good prospects for growth, both regionally and technologically.
Outlook for 2009
The economic experts in the industry association assume that existing orders will be largely worked off in the course of 2009. This will be accompanied by a sharp decline in sales. The decline will be much more severe, i.e. in
double figures, for construction equipment than for building materials, glass and ceramics machinery. On account of a still substantial backlog of orders from 2008, they, like the suppliers of special machinery and niche products, see prospects for the current year as largely assured. In contrast, the outlook for the manufacturers of construction equipment is much less rosy.