THE Austrian parent company of crane maker Liebherr Sunderland Works (LSW) reported a fall in sales and profits but says it is continuing to invest heavily to improve its production sites.
Figures just published to Companies House show that revenues fell slightly to £39.3m from £40.3m in the year to the end of December, while pre-tax profits were down to £1.5m from £2.5m in the same period.
Liebherr-Werk Nenzing (LWN) also has factories at Nenzing in its native Austria and Rostock in Germany, which are set up with identical equipment to Sunderland to manufacture ship, offshore and harbour mobile cranes. Sunderland is currently manufacturing three products in the Liebherr range.
The company said it has strengthened its direct sales strategy to help it to cope with the present economic climate in what is a “highly competitive market” for the business.
It said: “The five-year plan has been adjusted according to the present global economic climate and predicts a consolidated overall turnover. To achieve the planned targets, the maritime division is still investing heavily in extending and modernising all production facilities.
“Due to the strength of the current order book and the projected sales combined with the flexibility in manufacturing, LSW has a positive outlook for the foreseeable future.”
Part of the invested is in improving the skills of the Sunderland plant’s workforce.
Liebherr said: “The already existing apprenticeship scheme in co-operation with an external training centre and local colleges for steel shop and assembly occupations has been further developed and extended to cover the service department as well.
“In addition, LSW encourages all employees to improve their skills and competencies, by supporting college courses and on the job training wherever possible.
“The factories within the maritine division are constantly exchanging personnel to improve expertise, quality and efficiency.”