Stefan (left) and Jürgen Wirtgen

Stefan (left) and Jürgen Wirtgen

Equipment manufacturer the Wirtgen Group is forecasting turnover of about € 1,5 billion for 2010, which would represent growth of around 27% on last year.

Stefan Wirtgen, joint president of the company with his brother Jürgen, said, "We wanted to come out of the economic crisis stronger - and we have. We didn't put our foot on the brake."

Stefan Wirtgen was speaking at a two-day event at the group's Kleemann factory at Göppingen, near Stuttgart in Germany. More than 2,600 visitors from over 80 countries attended the event to tour the production plant for crushing and screening equipment, as well watch as live demonstrations of machines from all divisions of the Wirtgen Group.

Among the demonstrations were the Wirtgen 2500 SM surface miner, the latest generation of Wirtgen large milling machines, the world's largest asphalt paver from Vögele, and the entire range of new asphalt rollers from Hamm.

Stefan Wirtgen said that European sales were forecast to rise by +33% this year. In fact, the company claimed that growth was significantly driven by markets in Western Europe, Russia, the CIS and Eastern Europe, North and South America, as well as Asia.

He said, "The decline in Russia seems to have been overcome, and Eastern Europe too is looking better." Some 8000 machines will have been built by the Wirtgen Group by the end of the year, he said, with nearly 90% being exported. All four main group factories in Germany would remain there, he said.

Jürgen Wirtgen added that investment in the last two years had been "fairly large by our standards". Around € 240 million has been invested, and he said this included € 50 million in new machinery for the Wirtgen plant in Windhagen. A further € 20 million at Hamm, he said, meant that all Hamm machines had their own rollers, so that the right roller for the process could be supplied at short notice.

Vögele's factory at Ludwigshafen has been moved onto a green field site and covers 370000 m2. Stefan Wirtgen said the new production line saw "quality control lifted to totally new standards".

Kleemann has a new main plant too. Managing director Dr Gerhard Schumacher said the investment of € 57 million showed how important the group considered crushing and screening to be.

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