Summary of business performance

Sales markets

After several years of growth, the global market for industrial trucks registered a year-on-year contraction in the first quarter of 2019. This was due not only to current economic uncertainties but also the feared impact of ongoing trade disputes and the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. At 382.2 thousand, the number of new trucks ordered was down by 2.7 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2018. There was a decrease of 3.5 per cent in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The Americas region (North, Central and South America) experienced a sharp year-on-year fall of 19.2 per cent. By contrast, the APAC region (Asia-Pacific) generated growth of 6.8 per cent, thanks mainly to rising unit sales in China. Orders for new IC trucks declined by 6.3 per cent. Electric forklift truck orders fell by 2.3 per cent compared with the first three months of 2018. Warehouse trucks saw a slight increase of 0.5 per cent. > TABLE 01

Global industrial truck market (order intake)


in thousand units

Q1 2019

Q1 2018


Source: WITS/FEM

Western Europe




Eastern Europe




Middle East and Africa




North America




Central and South America












According to the KION Group’s estimates, the ongoing trend towards warehouse automation and towards sorting solutions and automated goods transport continued to generate high demand in the market for supply chain solutions. This was underpinned by high levels of capital investment in connection with multichannel and e-commerce strategies. A growing number of companies invested in the expansion and optimisation of their warehousing and logistics capacity, leading to a rise in order intake.

Business performance in the Group

The KION Group continued, in line with its planning, to implement the KION 2027 strategy in the five fields of action: energy, digital, automation, innovation, and performance. It secured major orders in connection with fleets of trucks powered by lithium-ion batteries and in the area of automated and digitalised intralogistics. The efficiency drive continued at the European production sites in the Industrial Trucks & Services segment.

In March 2019, the KION Group announced the construction of a new plant for industrial trucks at its production facility in Pune, India. Capital expenditure on this project will amount to around €15 million. The factory is scheduled to go into operation at the start of 2020. The new plant incorporates a research and development centre, a training centre for service personnel and space for Dematic’s future growth in India. This expansion of capacity is further strengthening the KION Group’s leading position in the fast-growing Indian market.

Also in March 2019, another early repayment of €100.0 million was made under the acquisition facilities agreement (AFA), reducing it to €500.0 million. The KION Group has therefore further optimised its funding structure.