19% drop for Haulotte
Haulotte has released its first quarter sales numbers which are down 19 percent due to Covid-19.
The company achieved total revenues of €132.9 million for the period, compared to last year’s record quarter of €163.2 million, and taking it back to similar levels to 2018. New equipment sales were down 20 percent, while rental activity declined 22 percent and part & service eight percent.
Most of the fall was due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly towards the end of the quarter, although the European market was already showing signs of slowing in the second half of last year, and was further impacted by the crisis from the start of March, resulting in a 23 percent fall, mostly from Southern Europe, where the outbreak began.
Revenues in the Asia Pacific region fell 13 percent, with China impacted early on in the quarter, and eventually shutting down production. In North America, the overall decline was more modest, coming in just two percent lower, with sales of aerial work platforms actually increasing 10 percent, in a market that that was generally softer.
The company says that it also saw declines on most countries of South America with the notable exception of Brazil, which was still on the rise. However overall sales in the region plummeted 25 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
Addressing the year as a whole, Haulotte said : “Given the uncertainties regarding the duration and extent of the health crisis related to Covid-19, Haulotte has decided to suspend, at this stage, its financial guidance for the year 2020 and will communicate new elements as soon as conditions allow. The group has already taken all the necessary measures to best manage the first consequences of this unprecedented crisis and enable Haulotte to calmly address its next steps.”
Initially the impact on the first quarter seems surprising, but then it has to be remembered that last year’s comparison quarter was a record, and that the impact of the virus was already affecting Italy and to a lesser extent France at the start of March, and then barely two weeks later the travel bans and shutdowns began.
The second quarter will clearly be much worse again, while the second half will be of greater interest, as everyone looks to see what sort of bounce back appears to be taking shape. The challenge for manufacturers will be to decide on production levels as the second quarter progresses and what sort of pace to ramp up at - making sure the supply chain is in place to match plans.
As the year progresses strategies, financial muscle/liquidity and a cool head will be of paramount importance.