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GFC outcome “acceptable” as CLAAS shrugs 2010

Landpower group CEO Richard Wilson says new CLAAS technology is being trialled in the southern hemisphere to meet projected machinery demand.

SHRUGGING the worst of the global financial crisis sees European machinery giant CLAAS describe its performance as “acceptable” with its Australasian distributor forecasting a “strong sales year ahead” for both sides of the Tasman.

CLAAS’ annual report details that while world sales last year were down around 15 percent – in line with post recession global industry performance – market share and gross margins rose.

With its liquidity said to be at a record high, the family-owned CLAAS company singles out four noteworthy milestones it made to 30 September 2010, namely:

International sales A$3.4 billion/NZ$4.4 billion Gross margins improved to 23.4 percentProfit before tax on income A$106m/NZ$138m Free cash flow A$297m/NZ$386.7m – previous year A$365m/NZ$475mMeanwhile, Landpower group CEO Richard Wilson, responsible for distributing CLAAS products throughout Australasia, courtesy of NZ based Landpower Holdings Ltd, described the results as “fantastic,” ahead of plans in 2011 to trial and release new combine harvesters, tractors and fodder machinery in Australia and New Zealand.

On CLAAS’ just-released results Richard Wilson said: “We think it’s a fantastic outcome given the buffeting other original equipment manufacturers have been taking.

“We have new generation tractors and fodder equipment being trialled in the southern hemisphere,” he added.

Interestingly, CLAAS invested A$175 million/NZ$224 in R&D last financial year to underscore its commitment to and acknowledgement of the growing importance of food production – in line with world population growth trends.

Richard Wilson says despite the tragic floods and crop losses in Australia, also the tough harvest conditions in New Zealand, there’s a strong push in Australia to take advantage of the once in a quarter century record soil moisture levels in the summer crop production belts of the eastern states.

“All the indicators are that winter cropping will be at record levels also, as producers seek to catch up, once again, after a decade of drought,” he said.

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