Summary of business performance

Sales markets

The global market for industrial trucks experienced further strong growth in the first quarter of 2018. As expected, however, there was no repeat of the exceptionally fast rate of growth seen in the equivalent period of the prior year. The number of new trucks ordered went up by 12.0 per cent overall to reach 392.6 thousand. The EMEA region (western Europe, eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) generated growth of 5.7 per cent. Whereas order numbers rose by 4.7 per cent across the western European markets, the markets in eastern Europe as a whole reported substantial growth of 17.8 per cent. The strong increase in the Americas region (up by 20.2 per cent) was primarily due to rising orders in the major sales markets. Although the APAC region saw further double-digit growth (up by 14.1 per cent), it was still well below the high prior-year figure. This was mainly because the Chinese market for diesel trucks had normalised following record sales in the first quarter of 2017.

The number of electric forklift truck orders advanced by 8.3 per cent. Orders for warehouse trucks were up by 13.0 per cent, while orders for IC trucks rose by 12.6 per cent. > TABLE 01

Global industrial truck market (order intake)


in thousand units

Q1 2018

Q1 2017


Source: WITS/FEM

Western Europe




Eastern Europe




Middle East and Africa




North America




Central and South America












In the Supply Chain Solutions market, the structural growth drivers and the growth trend both remained intact. The rapid expansion of e-commerce and the increasing use of Industry 4.0 technologies continue to shape the market for warehouse systems and automation solutions. Many businesses are investing further in the expansion and optimisation of their warehouse capacities and in automated warehouse systems that include not only solutions for individual processes, such as picking and packing, but also fully integrated end-to-end solutions.

Business performance in the Group

In January 2018, the KION Group entered into an exclusive and global strategic partnership with EP Equipment, Co., Ltd, Hangzhou, a leading Chinese manufacturer of warehouse technology products. As part of the arrangement, the KION Group signed an agreement to purchase a non-controlling interest in EP Equipment, Co., Ltd. The collaboration will allow the KION Group to expand its product offering in the entry-level segment for lightweight warehouse trucks and thereby improve on its position as a leading supplier of electric-powered material handling equipment. The transaction is due to be completed this year.

Also in January 2018, the KION Group agreed an extension, until February 2023, to the term of the revolving credit facility of €1,150.0 million arranged under the Senior Facilities Agreement (SFA), giving it another year of flexibility in its funding.

In the Supply Chain Solutions segment, the factory in Stříbro in the Czech Republic completed at the end of 2017 commenced operations in the first quarter of 2018. The factory is now manufacturing modules for multi-shuttles and modular conveyor systems for the European market.