The SAF-Holland Group has exceeded its growth objectives in 2011. Compared to the previous year, overall sales rose significantly by 31.7 per cent to EUR 831.3 million, and adjusted EBIT increased at a disproportionately high rate of 54.4 per cent to EUR 57.3 million. As a result, the adjusted EBIT margin improved to 6.9 per cent (previous year: 5.9 per cent).
Detlef Borghardt, CEO of SAF-Holland: “Our good business development resulted from the growth in transport volumes and continued pent-up demand in North America and Europe. At the same time, it confirms that we have correctly laid the groundwork for sustainable growth in the Group. The transfer of our technology expertise in the area of trailer axles to North America, the consistent expansion of our spare parts business and the expansion of our international activities are progressing well. SAF-Holland thus has further growth potential, which we will take advantage of in the coming years.”
SA-Holland generated sales of EUR 456.6 million in Europe in 2011, while sales in North America were EUR 331.9 million. Sales in other regions amounted to EUR 42.8 million. Meanwhile, the gross margin – influenced by rising material prices and a changed product and customer mix – sank to 17.9 per cent (previous year: 18.5 per cent). The adjusted result for the period, however, rose strongly from EUR 2.9 million in the previous year to EUR 27.3 million in 2011.
The Trailer Systems Business Unit recorded growth of 46.5 per cent in 2011 as sales increased to EUR 472.8 million. The unit thus generated 56.9 per cent of the Group's entire sales. The increase stimulated earnings improved in relation to the adjusted EBIT to EUR 14.8 million (previous year: EUR -9.0 million). The gross margin of 9.1 per cent (previous year: 6.5 per cent) was mainly influenced by higher raw material prices. The significantly increased production of SAF-Holland's own axle and new suspension systems for trailers in North America, which commenced in 2009, had a particularly positive effect. The comopany is now pursuing the goal of doubling the market share of this segment in North America in the coming years.
The Aftermarket Business Unit increased its sales in financial year 2011 by 13.2 per cent to EUR 204.5 million. The segment remains SAF-Holland's second largest Business Unit and contributed 24.6 per cent to Group sales. As a result of the increase in sales, adjusted EBIT rose at a disproportionately high rate of 23.9 per cent to EUR 32.1 million. The gross margin increased slightly to 39.6 per cent (previous year: 37.9 per cent). According to SAF-Holland, the spare parts business is less influenced by economic cycles and is a stabilizing factor for the Group with a good degree of profitability and sustainable growth potential. The mid-term target is to increase the segment's contribution to 30 per cent of Group sales.
As a consequence of higher demand, the Group hired new employees in all regions. In the reporting year, the average of employees at SAF-Holland was 3,107 (previous year: 2,619). The company now intends to continue the growth course by expanding the global aftermarket business and the market share in the US Trailer Systems market, and by increasing its commitment in BRIC countries.