German farm equipment manufacturer Lemken reports that it was able to grow its business in the past year even though conditions proved generally difficult. In 2018, the company’s turnover totaled €380 million ($428 million), corresponding to a growth rate of 6%. Export sales have remained at an unchanged 77%.
Due to climatic, political and economic conditions, 2018 was a challenge for many farmers, however the year began well with a series of orders, but due to the dry conditions, there was a decrease in orders throughout the course of the year. Considering these conditions, managing director, Anthony van der Ley, says he is happy with the development of sales during the past year. “The turbulent weather has had a massive impact on our planning and schedules, which has put our suppliers under severe pressure. Fortunately, we are a family-run company working in close cooperation with our customers and business partners. Our employees’ commitment and flexibility have enabled us to process all orders and service requests as quickly as they came.”
At a turnover increase of 8%, Germany remains Lemken’s strongest performing market. Of all the company’s export markets, France was the most significant market to recover as sales have risen considerably again after a few years. Benelux, Spain and Italy also generated top sales figures for Lemken. Other significant export markets include Canada and the U.S., where the increase in profit has resumed double-digit growth. After 6 years, India’s production facility has become quite successful and the company reports that in 2018 there was a noticeable increase to its 2-3 furrow plow sales. Ukraine is another strong market where the company has been able to increase its sales. Russia was the second largest export market for Lemken in 2018, although sales expectations were not fully met. The most recent, successful markets include Japan with a significant increase in sales and Australia with its newly re-structured distribution network.
Sales results were generally positive for all product ranges. The plow and compact-disc harrow sector achieved particularly positive growth while seeder and cultivator sales proved equally successful.
Lemken’s professional farming product range has been expanded with its new hoeing equipment line produced by Dutch company Steketee. At mid-year Lemken acquired this successful family-run hoeing specialist in response to the growing demand for sustainable, environmentally sound cultivation methods. Courtesy of an advanced camera system the mechanical hoeing machines, offering working widths of up to 12 meters, are suited for both vegetable and grain crops, which means farmers may now opt for chemical-free weeding.
An adaptation of the cameras to the Lemken field sprayers, planned for the future, will enable farmers to apply their inputs in a more targeted, efficient way. In addition, the company’s Crop Care business includes sensor-controlled measurement stations for daily recommendations on effective crop protection activities.
Also, Lemken has invested €8.5 million ($9.6 million) in factory expansions and modernization work. The company has begun implementing new, comprehensive factory logistics, resulting in a more efficient supply of materials to the assembly lines and freeing up the required space for the manufacture of new product ranges.
Toward the end of last year, Lemken’s staff had grown by 165 employees to 1,635 staff in total, both due to the 49 employees taken over from Steketee and a significant growth in factory workers. Lemken India has also taken on a large number of extra staff.
For 2019, the family-run company is assuming another solid business year. So far, orders have been good, serving as proof for the continually growing demand for professional farm equipment. The new arrivals for the 2019 product range include the Rubin 10 compact disc harrow, the Diamant 16 semi-mounted plow and a new 6 furrow mounted plow. Lemken’s seeder range will be expanded by a front-mounted seed/fertilizer hopper which combines with the new coulter bar and power harrow.