By Ian Cameron
Strong demand in China and North America helped Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) put in a strong fourth quarter in 2017, with sales up 28% in the period and up 31% for the year, the company said.
The company added that a strong performance in the fourth quarter of 2017 helped its parent company, the Volvo Group, achieve the highest sales and operating income in its history. Improved competitiveness coupled with growing demand – especially in Asia – helped Volvo CE deliver strong improvements in sales, operating income, and order intake.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, net sales increased by 28% and, when adjusted for currency movements, net sales were up more, to 34%. For the full year net sales increased by 31%.
The company said demand in Europe improved during the quarter and was up 16% by the end of November, helped by growth in the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and a rapidly improving Russian market. North America was up by 10% over last year, helped by greater demand for excavators, while South America saw a gain of 17%, from low levels and mostly from markets outside of Brazil.
Volvo CE said the Middle Eastern market continued to slow, weighed by weak demand from Saudi Arabia. Excluding China, Asian markets were up 11% compared to last year, boosted by an improving mining sector. The Chinese market itself was strongly up, growing by 74% above last year, driven by greater demand for excavators and wheel loaders.
The market for large excavators was up 121%, while compact excavators enjoyed an 83% improvement. By the end of November the market for wheel loaders in China was up by 50%.
During the fourth quarter of 2017 Volvo CE saw net order intake increase by 48%, largely driven by strong demand in China and North America. Deliveries increased by 49% during the period, again boosted by higher volumes in China, the company said.