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COVID dents Liebherr mining sales

German-Swiss equipment manufacturer Liebherr has cited World Bank and IMF forecasts for a "vaccine-driven pick-up in economic activity" from later this year after COVID impacts chopped 12% off 2020 group sales and 9.8% off mining revenues.
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Trolley assist system developed for Liebherr's T236 diesel-electric mining truck

Staff reporter

The Liebherr-family owned business this week reported a 9.8% year-on-year dip in mining turnover to €964 million (US$1.1 billion) compared with last year's €1,069 million.

Group sales across 13 product segments totalled €10,341 million in 2020, versus €11,750 million in 2019 - the highest level in five years.

The Asia/Oceania region accounted for 60.8% of Liebherr's mining revenue.

Group net profit shrunk to only €7 million in 2020, which the company described as satisfactory given the extraordinary conditions wrought by the pandemic.

"Despite the industry's usual resilience, the global mining industry experienced a downturn in 2020," Liebherr said in its 2020 annual report.

"This resulted in losses in revenue and profits in the resources industry. It, however, also made the industry focus on future-looking trends, such as increased digitalisation autonomy, and automation.

"For 2021, Liebherr expects the mining industry to recover. Major technology trends such as digitalisation, autonomy and zero emissions will be a focus of research and development activities".

Liebherr spent €512 million on R&D in 2020.

Mining division headcount fell from 4005 to 3862 yoy, while group employee numbers were 0.3% lower at the end of 2020 at 47,925.

"The International Monetary Fund predicts that the global economy will grow by 5.5% in 2021. This reflects the expectation of a vaccine-driven pick-up in economic activity later in the year along with additional stimulus programmes announced in several major economies," Liebherr said.

"The World Bank is similarly optimistic, predicting a global economic recovery with a growth rate of 4%, assuming that corona vaccinations will become increasingly available throughout the year. In its Global Economic Prospects study published in January 2021, the World Bank stressed that this recovery could be endangered if policymakers fail to get the pandemic under control and implement investment-friendly reforms.

"The World Trade Organisation expects a 7.2 % growth in global trade in 2021."