Equipment specialist, JOST, has confirmed 2018 was its best year ever, achieving organic growth of around 10 per cent and record sales of €755 million, according to a recently released annual report.
JOST CEO, Lars Brorsen, was very pleased with the company’s performance in the 2018 fiscal year.
“It took a lot of energy and determination to achieve this result,” he said. “All regions contributed – Europe performed well, as did Asia, despite experiencing a temporary market decline in 2018. In North America, we even managed an impressive 28 per cent organic growth compared with 2017 and gained additional market share.”
JOST Chief Financial Officer, Dr Christian Terlinde, added that JOST achieved its highest profit of all time amounting to €53 million and was able to further reduce leverage from 1.2x to 0.85x.
“We signed a new refinancing agreement that gives us more flexibility for future acquisitions,” he said. “We want our shareholders to benefit from this success and will therefore propose to the Annual General Meeting that the dividend be increased from €0.50 to €1.10 per share.”
Dr Ralf Eichler, JOST Chief Operating Officer, said there were many challenges to overcome including rising metal prices, scarcities in the supply chain, higher freight costs and unexpected high growth in sales, particularly in the US.
“If you want to respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the market, you have to be able to adapt your production process at short notice,” he said. “Which, of course, is exactly what our team did. In 2018, we achieved an adjusted [earnings before interest and taxes – EBIT] margin of 10.7 per cent, very close to the previous year’s level of 10.9 per cent.”
Looking to the future, JOST Chief Sales Officer, Joachim Dürr, is confident that the Management Board remains committed to outperforming all relevant markets in all segments by building on its good global position.
“We also intend to increase the share of higher-value products in our total sales – for example couplings with sensors and automatic lubrication systems.
“In the field of manoeuvring systems, we see a strong trend towards steered axles, which will help our TRIDEC products gain new business in 2019.
“In Ebro, our portfolio has a strong brand for hydraulic cylinders, from which we can generate additional growth. It is important that we continue to offer customers added value. This will enable us to consolidate our market position and acquire additional market share,” he said.
Following commercial vehicle trends, specifically autonomous driving, Dürr said safe communication between the truck and trailer is essential. He added that JOST is working closely with OEMs and fleets to define new interfaces.
JOST’s Management Board also commented on sustainability and clarified its environmental responsibility in light of mandates to reduce commercial vehicle emissions.
Brorsen said JOST aims to reduce the amount of grease used in vehicles with its new biodegradable, high-performance lubricant among other initiatives.
Ultimately, JOST is focused on quality, reliability and flexibility to ensure long-term success, according to Brorsen.
Eichler agreed that this ethos applies to every part of the company and are key factors that influence future performance.
“We have learned a great deal in recent years,” he said. “Our current workforce and expertise with robust processes puts us in a strong position. In a volatile industry like ours, willingness to change is essential – because standing still means going backwards.”
(Image: JOST CEO, Lars Brorsen.)