Industry flexing its muscle at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2005

ConExpo-Con/Agg show news

March 16, 2005

At press briefings on Tuesday, manufacturers like Komatsu America Corp., JCB and Terex announced solid 2004 revenue, and higher expectations are in place for 2005.

Komatsu, celebrating its 35th anniversary, said overall retail activity is 30-35% higher than it was a year ago.

"We expect to see the market up 5% this year (2005), and the mining industry will be particularly strong," said Komatsu Chairman and CEO David Grzelak.

For the first time in the manufacturer's history, North America offers the largest sales of Komatsu equipment than any other region in the world. Japan was the former No. 1.

Adding to future success will be Komatsu's compliance with Tier III emissions. The company's new engines will be delivered "ahead of schedule" in January 2006.

JCB, enjoying its 60th year in business, is resetting the bar at an all-time-high level. The British manufacturer grew a whopping 53% in North America, produced a record 37,000 machines and recorded revenue earnings of $1.7 billion, another milestone.

"Nearly half of the 180,000 heavy compact units were sold in North America in 2004," said JCB President Helmut Peters. "We're looking to capitalize in that market."

JCB hopes to deliver 40,000 units in 2005. Eighteen new products are being launched at ConExpo-Con/Agg.

Terex also has enjoyed a chunk of growth over the last year. The company reported an overall growth of 28% in 2004 compared to 2003, and has estimated this year's bonus to fall in the 8-12% range. Terex is on pace to reach a 2006 company goal of $6 billion in total revenue.

Despite the positive vibes, all manufacturers were concerned about the increase in steel prices and the availability of rubber tires.

"Availability of steel isn't the issue. Price is the issue," said Grzelak. "We're hoping it will improve this year."

"We had contracts in place that helped cushion the rise in steel prices. We believe supply is more difficult, particularly of the high-grade steel," said Peters.