Consolidated net sales were up 9 per cent to 2,498 million euros (prior year: 2,290 million euros). The value of incoming orders, including all business fields, advanced by 8 per cent to 2,535 million euros (prior year: 2,357 million euros). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 12 per cent, achieving a new record high of 193 million euros (prior year: 172 million euros). Jungheinrich thus fully met its forecast for the fiscal year in terms of net sales and exceeded it for incoming orders and EBIT. EBIT benefited from the positive exceptional effect of the adjustment to the Dutch pension plan of 6.7 million euros.
Excellent Market Development In Western Europe
In 2014, the world material handling equipment market expanded by eight per cent to 1.09 million units, driven by the very positive development displayed by the markets in Western Europe, Asia and the Americas. Europe, Jungheinrich’s main sales market, posted growth of nine per cent to 344,500 units, with demand in Western Europe climbing 11 per cent, whereas the market volume of Eastern Europe was essentially flat (-0.4 per cent). Unit-based incoming orders in new truck business rose nine per cent groupwide to 85,600 thousand trucks (prior year: 78,200 units). Production totalled 83,500 forklifts, up 15 per cent on the 72,500 recorded a year earlier and besting the record set in 2007 before the global financial crisis (82,400 units).
Growth Generates Employment
In 2014, Jungheinrich expanded its workforce by 709 employees, in line with the company’s continuing growth. Personnel were added above all in the sales companies in Europe and Asia as well as in the logistics systems business. As of December 31, 2014, the Group employed 12,549 people (prior year: 11,840), 6,911 of whom worked abroad (prior year: 6,484) and 5,638 of whom worked in Germany (prior year: 5,356).
Higher Dividends Proposed
The Board of Management of Jungheinrich AG is doing justice to this unusually positive development and proposes to the Supervisory Board that a draft resolution for a dividend increase of 0.18 euros to 0.98 euros per common share and to 1.04 euros per preferred share be submitted to the Annual General Meeting on May 19, 2015 for the passage of said resolution. This represents a 21 per cent increase in the dividend per preferred share. The company will provide more detailed information on its business performance in 2014 at the annual press conference on 25 March 2015.