Overall assessment of the economic situation
As European market leader, the KION Group quickly benefited from the growing economic recovery in the established western European markets. While revenue remained at the same level as in the first three months of 2013 owing to currency effects, the KION Group’s order intake and order book rose substantially in the first quarter of 2014. This increase was mainly driven by growth in Germany and the rest of Europe. Revenue from the service business went up significantly and accounted for 46.9 per cent of total revenue. The adjusted EBIT margin was 8.0 per cent in the first three months of the year. Net income and, therefore, earnings per share were largely unchanged year on year, with an average of 98.9 million no-par-value shares. Since the IPO, the repayment of financial liabilities has greatly increased financial scope and flexibility, and this was particularly reflected in the level of net financial expenses and current interest payments in the first quarter of 2014.
Level of orders
The KION Group had a strong start to 2014 with the value of orders up by 4.4 per cent compared with the first quarter of the previous year despite negative currency effects of €18.8 million. All three operating segments generated an increase in order volume. LMH and STILL benefited from both quantity effects and price effects.
The number of trucks ordered advanced by 3.1 per cent. In western Europe, the number increased by 2.6 per cent but was unable to keep pace with overall market growth, which was driven by the expansion of rental fleets. By contrast, a strong performance outside Russia and other factors enabled the KION Group to buck the negative market trend in eastern Europe and achieve almost the same high level as in the first quarter of 2013. In Asia, there were significant gains in all product categories. Of particular note was the encouraging rise in the number of diesel trucks ordered, which was mainly due to a new product platform developed in China. As a result, the KION Group generated growth of 18.7 per cent in China, thereby slightly outperforming the market as a whole. In Central and South America, the KION Group brand companies were unable to escape the negative market trend. This was particularly the case in Brazil owing to uncertainty about government subsidy programmes at the end of 2013. Nevertheless, the brand companies fared better overall than the general market trend in this region, despite the decrease. Overall, growth markets accounted for 32.6 per cent of new truck sales.
The total value of the order book amounted to €763.8 million, an increase of 10.2 per cent on the value at the end of last year (31 December 2013: €693.3 million).