It has been a particularly challenging year for Claas, yet the financial results show its resilience in the face of a myriad of difficulties over the past 12 months.

The headline figures include a total record sales figure of €4.9 billion and an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) margin of 8.8%, although earnings before taxes were €166.3 million as opposed to €3.571 million last year.

Strong performance

This is, on the face of it, something of a mixed bag, especially when compared to the figures being given by the three larger corporations.

However, Claas would appear to have several issues that have not so greatly influenced the others, one of which is the effect of the war in Ukraine, while the other was the interruption in combine harvester production at the Harsewinkel facility.

Harsewinkel combine harvester
The factory at Harsewinkel has undergone a major update this year

This latter was due to a planned refurbishment and closed the production line for 22 weeks, yet time-critical deliveries to customers were fulfilled and the European dealer network pulled together to ensure that combines were available as the harvest moved north.

This level of cooperation drew particular praise from the company’s senior management during the late summer, although it went mainly unreported at the time.

It was also noted by the same sources that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was of concern to the company as it had a strong customer base on either side, noting that its customers are always to the forefront.

Balance of loyalties

Somewhat atypical of industry this year was the increased sales in north America which performed well, although, like all manufacturers, it experienced a slow-down in European demand.

Whatever the headwinds, no company can afford to stand still and Claas has continued to invest in 2022.

Claas investment Le Mans
Claas is continuing to promote itself as a full line manufacturer with improvements to its grassland range

It has injected €130 million into the expansion of its global sales and production network, while the modernisation of the Harsewinkel plant was successfully completed.

A similar project to increase production capacities and upgrade the infrastructure at the Bad Saulgau site is underway, while at Le Mans, France, a new facility for sales training opened.

New training centre at Le Mans

Funds are also being directed at research and development, a spend which has reached a new high in the company’s history.

They rose by 6.4% to €279 million and included the development and renewal of harvesting machinery, tractors and investments in digital technology.

Combine harvester Germany america
North American growth is expected to be led by increased combine harvester sales

Looking ahead, Claas anticipates double-digit sales and income growth despite the present uncertainties. It is expecting demand for agricultural equipment to remain stable overall.

Growth in north America is also expected to continue unabated, thanks to a broader combine harvester and tractor range.