Trumpf reports record sales and invests to secure future

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Although Trumpf generated the highest sales in its 90 year history in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, its overall profit declined slightly, because the company ramped up its investment in R&D and acquired two new companies. Its laser technology business saw above-average growth of 7.6 per cent to €684 million over the year. With the introduction of BrightLine Fibre technology and what company executives describe as promising sales figures in November, trumpf expects to see the profit line resume its upward trend next year.

Trumpf’s financial year runs from July 2012 to June 2013, during which overall sales rose by around one per cent to €2.34 billion. However, pre-tax profits dropped by 26.9 per cent to €154 million from €211 million.

Revenue growth was primarily due to North America, which accounted for 22.1 per cent of the company’s total sales. In the UK, Trumpf generated £39 million, which was the second best year the company has experienced in the UK, but a reduction of nine per cent on the previous year. At a Trumpf press conference on 5 December, Scott Simpson, Trumpf UK’s managing director, said: ‘We have seen all the positive news on GDP and how the UK is getting stronger, but I would say that we have not seen this in our sector to the same extent.’  

According to Dr Jürgen Hambrecht, chairman of the supervisory board, Trumpf’s profits were lower than that of the previous year because of the high level of investment the company made in future sectors: ‘The result was lower than that of the previous year because of increased expenditure on securing the future, primarily in research and development,’ he stated in the Trumpf annual report. During the year, spending in R&D rose by 9.1 per cent to €211 million. ‘This is the highest amount we have ever spent on R&D in one single year,’ said Simpson. At the end of the financial year on 30 June 2013, there were 1,430 employees working in R&D, a rise of 5.8 per cent.

To secure future growth, Trumpf has made two strategic investments. It purchased 72 per cent of Chinese business, Jiangsu Jinfangyuan CNC Machine Company (JFY), in order to reinforce its market position in China. JFY manufactures punching, bending, and laser machines. In addition, Italian Company Codatto International, which specialises in developing and manufacturing panel bending machines, became a member of the Trumpf group in November. ‘The panel bending machines will now complement the Trumpf press brakes perfectly; it will offer advantages when dealing with larger panels,’ said Simpson. These two acquisitions will increase the number of existing employees, which currently stands at 9,925, by approximately 8 per cent. ‘All this costs money in the short term, but in the long term these investments will pay off,’ Simpson emphasised.

It is anticipated that for next year, sales will be driven by the launch of BrightLine Fibre technology for 2D cutting, which was introduced at the BlechExpo exhibition in November. According to the company’s annual report, in cutting applications in sheet metal processing, there was a noticeable trend toward solid-state lasers, which resulted in a moderate drop in sales of CO2 lasers for machine tools. This was demonstrated in orders received during the exhibition month: of the 13 2D laser machines that were ordered, nine were solid-state lasers and four were CO2. Because of the capability of the fibre technology to cut both thin and thick material, Simpson believes that in the future, the demand for solid-state lasers will replace the demand for CO2