JCB achieved underlying earnings in excess of £300 million for the fourth successive year, as improvements in Western economies were eclipsed by sharp falls in developing construction equipment markets.
Earnings for 2014 on an EBITDA basis were £303 million (2013: £313 million), before one-off restructuring costs of £11 million (2013: Nil). Sales turnover was £2.51 billion against £2.68 billion the previous year, and machine sales were 64,028 (2013: 66,227).
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “For different reasons each of the ‘BRIC’ markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China were sharply down in 2014. However, the broad spread of our business enabled us to benefit from better conditions in North America, Western Europe and particularly the UK.”
The construction equipment market in Brazil dropped by 17% in 2014, Russia fell by 27%, India by almost 15% and China by 17%. Markets in the UK and North America grew by 30% and 13% respectively. JCB’s sales in North America grew by 23% – outpacing the market and making it a record year for JCB in North America, which is now the company’s third biggest market behind India and the UK.
Lord Bamford added: “Global market uncertainty has continued into 2015, though our home market of the UK remains a rare bright spot. The need for infrastructure in much of the developing world remains acute and will eventually drive a resumption of growth. Our resilient performance in 2014 demonstrates we are well placed to capitalise on improving trends as they emerge.”
Since 2010, JCB has created 2,000 new jobs at its 11 UK plants, boosting employment levels to 6,000. Globally, the company now employs 12,500 people. JCB is currently investing in UK manufacturing by increasing production capacity at its World HQ in Rocester, Staffs. The company also completed a 700,000 sq ft factory development in Jaipur, India in 2014 costing £62 million and construction of a new €25 million HQ for JCB Germany is also underway. Lord Bamford added: “We continue to invest heavily in all areas of our business despite the difficult markets, and this is the best demonstration of our confidence in the future”.