Profits boost for Kion as forklift demand rises

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Kion Group, which owns Linde and Still forklift truck brands, has reported operating profit (EBIT) of  168m euros for the first half – up from 21m euros last year.

Sales rose 31 per cent to 2.1bn euros for the first half. 

The group said global demand for industrial trucks grew considerably in the first half of 2011 and had reached 506,000 units by 30 June.

“This equates to a gain of almost a third compared to the worldwide demand in the corresponding period of 2010. This year, if the trend continues, the global market for industrial trucks could beat the record of 953,000 units set in 2007.”

Western Europe remained the largest individual market with demand rising by 38 per cent to 150,000 units. Germany, the United Kingdom and France were among the drivers of growth in this region.

Demand from China amounted to 131,000 trucks in the first half of 2011, which means that one in four units worldwide is sold to China – now the second largest market in the world.

Kion has launched a joint venture with Indian engineering group Voltas. Voltas Material Handling is building a new plant at Pune and will develop, manufacture, sell and service forklifts and warehouse technology.

In Europe Kion is planning two projects to concentrate its European production of warehouse trucks. Current production in Montataire  is planned to be transferred to Luzzara, Italy.

The second project would merge the production of counterbalance trucks for the Still OM brands at Still’s Hamburg site.

In the UK Linde Material Handling acquired the remaining 51 per cent of shares in its United Kingdom based dealer Linde Sterling.

And in Brazil, Kion is expanding production capacity.

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