After a tremendous run where mining equipment manufacturers tripled turnover within 10 years to Euro 6.2 billion, 2013 was estimated to end on a 1% increase to about Euro 6.3 billion, according to the German Engineering Federation’s VDMA Mining Equipment Association. For 2014 companies are anticipating losses in the lower double-digit percentage range due to falling raw material prices and general market insecurity.

VDMA chairman Dr Paul Rheinländer said at the annual press conference of the German mining equipment manufacturers that raw material producers are probably at the top of the cycle. “The markets have always been subject to rises and falls. In 2015 sales figures could already rise again. In the medium and long term demand for raw material will probably rise again considerably. Our machinery significantly contributes to meeting this demand.”

German manufacturers benefit primarily from the further increased cost awareness of their customers due to falling raw material prices. Here, life cycle costs – ie not only the cost price of a piece of machinery but also the costs it generates over its entire life cycle – are moving increasingly into the focus.

In terms of quality and by extension also of life cycle costs, said Paul Rheinländer, “we are leaders in many fields.” Furthermore, many large mining companies are now under pressure and are no longer concluding package agreements but increasingly splitting their purchasing transactions due to falling raw material prices. “For us,” he said, “this means additional orders.”

Based on figures currently available, the German domestic market is estimated to post a decline in sales of about 4% to Euro 430 million in 2013. How things develop from here, said Paul Rheinländer, will depend on how the change in energy policy in Germany is implemented. Since power stations are now only providing a reduced supply, demand for coal has dropped considerably. Add to this the fact that imported coal from the US is also impacting the market.

That Ruhrkohle AG plans to wind down its investments to zero by 2018 when it closes its hard coal mines, Paul Rheinländer continued, could lead to affected companies adapting accordingly. He assumes that the anticipated minus triggered by this can be recouped on the world markets.

Foreign sales were expected to rise by approximately 2% to Euro 5.8 billion in 2013. Due to falling raw material prices and general insecurity on many markets a minus is anticipated for 2014 in the lower double-digit percentage range.

The largest export countries are the USA followed by Russia and China. Latin America, in particular, is developing into an ever more interesting sales region. Their share in total exports in 2012 still stood at 7% and in 2013 the figure was expected to be about 9%.

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