No guarantee of 'real recovery' in 2011 says Alexandre Saubot

By Murray Pollok29 November 2010

Haulotte's Alexandre Saubot speaking at the 2010 bauma china exhibition.

Haulotte's Alexandre Saubot speaking at the 2010 bauma china exhibition.

North American and European access markets will improve in 2011 but there is no guarantee that there will be a "real recovery" before 2012, said Alexandre Saubot, chief operating officer of Haulotte Group.

Speaking at Haulotte's press conference during the bauma China exhibition last week, Mr Saubot said that the 15% market increase in sales in 2010 represented a "very small recovery" and said; "Next year will be better, but nobody has visibility longer than three months. The big investment programmes are not back. I hope the recovery will be next year, but a real recovery is not guaranteed."

Continuing low volumes meant that Haulotte was unlikely to reach break-even point in 2010, said Mr Saubot.

Highlighting growing sales in developing markets like Brazil and Asia, Mr Saubot cautioned that Europe and North America remained the most important areas, representing around 75% of the total world market; "You can double the market in the rest of the world and still not make up the difference."

Haulotte has established a manufacturing and assembly plant in Changzhou, China, and told IRN that it will double production levels next year, although it is not giving details of production numbers.

So far the company is manufacturing Optimum 8 scissor lifts and will be making Compact 10 and 12 models before the middle of 2011, but Mr Saubot said expansion of the product range will depend on the company securing a component supplier base in China.

China represents a major long term opportunity for the company, but in the short term it is Brazil that is a key market. Mr Saubot told IRN that Haulotte had to "catch up" on some of its competitors in Brazil, but said; "I am not concerned that we will not get to a 20-25% market share. The infrastructure is there." Haulotte employs around 20 people in the country.

He said Haulotte was selling to eight of the top ten rental companies in Brazil; "I think they will double the existing fleet in the next two years." He added that the Brazilian market "looks like a bubble, but the bubble could last a few years."

During bauma China Haulotte launched three products that are new to Asia. The HA12CJ/CJ+ electric articulating boom, seen first in prototype at Intermat in 2009; the Compact 14 scissor, which is already available in Europe; and the Start 6 Picking model, another unit seen first at Intermat 2009.

The company showed four other models, including two big booms, a Chinese-made Optimum 8, and a US-built trailer mounted platform.

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