AccessM20 2021 - world’s largest access manufacturers

By Euan Youdale26 May 2021

As one might imagine, this accessM20 listing of revenues from the world’s largest access equipment manufacturers for the 2020 calendar year, looks quite different to the figures in 2019 - although, not completely.

The upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is well documented and the effect on the major access equipment manufacturers in Europe and North America during 2020 was clear, as rental companies cut their capital expenditures, especially around the traditional construction related applications.

The 2020 revenue of the top 20 manufacturers in the listing is down 20% on the 2019 total, from $9.96 billion to $7.98 billion. This significant drop is hardly a surprise, considering the circumstance of last year, and in many ways could have been worse. While it is important to take into consideration that some revenues of the 40 companies in this list have been estimated, the overall impression is a fair reflection of the state of the industry. 

AccessM20 2021 See the full table in the May-June 2021 issue of Access International

This situation can be seen in the results of the Europe and North America-based self propelled scissor and boom lift producers in this list, many of which have seen dramatic falls compared to 2019, which had also been a difficult year due to an unexpected dip in the market during the second half. For that reason manufacturers were already forecasting a slow 2020 before the pandemic struck. However, no one could have predicted what was to come.

Chinese growth

It is the Chinese manufacturers that have brought up the overall result in the 2020 revenue listing, thanks to their exceptional performances, in general, during that year. They generally reported major increases, particularly among the Chinese generalist construction equipment OEMs that had recently set up access equipment divisions, having seen the potential of the sector in their country. XCMG and LGMG saw 51% and 36% increases respectively, compared to their 2019 results, which brings them comfortably into the top 10 this year. 

This was fundamentally the result of the Chinese market, which grew around 50% during 2020, once the country had Covid-19 under control by the second quarter. Indeed, reports from the country at the time revealed that its access industry was back to full flight by May.

Combine that with a Chinese rental market that has the potential to be the largest in the world and is keen to invest in homegrown equipment manufacturers, for a number of reasons, and it is easy to see how their revenues have increased. On the other hand, much of that investment has come from a small number of huge rental companies, while other smaller rental firms in the country have fared less well, due to historically low rental rates and extreme competition. The same is true for some of the smaller Chinese specialist access equipment manufacturers, which have been squeezed out in the deals between the major generalists and rental companies. Evidence of this can be seen in this year’s AccessM20 listing. 

And, while the revenues of Chinese manufacturers in the 2020 listing is in stark contrast to those of the Europe and North America-based manufacturers, the trend, as previously mentioned, had already emerged in last year’s AccessM20 report, which showed 2019 revenues, compared to those in 2018.  

The market in Europe and North America had taken an unexpected dip in the second half of 2019, and before Covid-19 most manufacturers were forecasting 2020 as a down year. This was reflected by the falls in the top North America-based manufacturers’ figures, although to a much lesser extent, of course, to what happened in 2020. And Haulotte, based in France, had seen its best first half year on record in 2019, which demonstrates the difference between the beginning and the end of that year.

In contrast, Chinese access specialist Dingli was up 55% to 6th place in the 2019 revenue list, from 11th in 2018. It represented an incredible rise, thanks again, to strong growth in China but also the inroads the company was making in North America and Europe.

XCMG and LGMG, for example, had an even more incredible growth pattern. As generalist construction equipment manufacturers, having started their access divisions in the previous three years or so, their partnerships with major rental companies in the country, which were also very newly established, had brought them into the top 20 of the listing for the first time. Their sales outside the country were still relatively low, compared to domestic-based revenue, but the activity in China made their rises possibe. Beyond the borders of China, most of the Chinese generalists have been active in expanding their access brands globbaly, in Europe and North America but that has not yet transitioned into the same level of sales activity.  

Remaining with the examples of XCMG and LGMG, that success continued into 2020, mainly for the same reasons, and became all the more stark due to the pandemic led crises that followed in Europe and North America, after it had left China in the second quarter. Zoomlion, as a generalist too, has also shown great growth. One thing that is worth bearing in mind, is that both XCMG and Zoomlion have had well-established construction hoist divisions for many years, which probably means they could have been represented in the AccessM20 list in previously, before their first actual appearance last year. 

Another factor in 2019 was that during the economically-led downturn the revenues of specialist manufacturers of vehicle mounts and spider lifts, etc, often used in non-construction applications, ranging from utilities to maintenance, were far more stable.

The same is true in the Covid-led crisis of 2020, which in terms of this listing, has been most keenly felt by the industry in the mature rental markets of Europe and North America. Looking at the 2020 figures, there is still growth among those OEMs which sell into the types of applications that remained buoyant, such as utilities and other areas that grew during the global lockdowns, such as home and garden improvements.

Taking stock

It is also clear that while the pandemic has caused huge upheaval and tragedy on a human level, this is, as already mentioned, not an economic-based crisis. As the industry adapts and vaccination roll-outs take hold, a return to growth seems to be assured. This can already be seen in the recent first quarter 2021 results from the established European and North American manufacturers such as JLG, Genie, Skyjack and Haulotte, which are showing significant recovery and increased forecasts for the year ahead.

Oshkosh Corporation said in its second quarter results that sales in the access division, including JLG and Jerr-Dan towing and recovery equipment, had increased 6.5% to $738.2 million, compared to the same period last year.

In an earnings call with investors on 28 April, John C. Pfeifer, president and CEO of Oshkosh, said, “We believe that we’re entering a multi-year growth cycle in access equipment. We absolutely expect to achieve and exceed the prior peak revenues. The prior peak revenues was not too long ago. It was a little over $4 billion. We absolutely expect to exceed that.”

Although sales at Terex Corp’s AWP segment, which incorporates Genie and Terex Utilities, fared slightly less well over the period. Net sales at Terex AWP dropped 6.8% in its first quarter to $476.7 million, from the $511.7 million reported in the first quarter 2020, the division’s income from operations, improved considerably in the quarter, from -$5.9 million in 2020 to $26.6 million in 2021.

John L. Garrison, Terex chairman and CEO, said, “AWP continues to improve its execution and operating margins, while meeting strong customer demand.” Due to improved market conditions, Terex Corp increased its full-year group sales outlook to approximately $3.7 billion. The company said its strong financial results and liquidity also enabled it to prepay a large amuont of its loans. “We will continue to use our liquidity to fund future growth opportunities, such as the recent announcement of our new Monterrey, Mexico AWP facility,” added the company. 

Haulotte Group, achieved sales of €106 million ($129 million) in the first quarter of 2021, down 18% from €132.9 million ($162.3 million) at the end of March 2020. Nevertheless, The company said it expects sales to grow by more than 15% in 2021, buoyed by a rebound in the aerial platform market.

While noting the quick recovery, the manufacturer said challenges remained in the year ahead. “In a global aerial platform market that, like many other industrial sectors, is still being penalised by procurement difficulties of certain components and tensions observed on supply chain inherent in the suddenness of the recovery.”

And, first quarter sales for Linamar’s industrial segment, which includes Skyjack and MacDon, increased 16.5% or C$49.3 million to C$348.3 million. Skyjack’s core North American market was up 7.7% for the quarter and Linamar said it expects the access manufacturer to experience double digit growth this year and in 2022.

  • See the full AccessM20 2021 listing in the May-June issue of Access International, and read more about the manufacturer’s first quarter financial results in News extra: financials, in the same issue. 
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Euan Youdale Editor, Access International Tel: +44 (0)1892 786 214 E-mail: euan.youdale@khl.com
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