Sales at the Ludwigsburg-based MANN+HUMMEL Group increased by 74 million euros (+ 5.6 per cent) to 1.39 billion euros in the first half of 2014 (previous year: 1.32 billion euros for the same period). When adjusted for exchange rate effects, the increase in sales amounts to 8.3 per cent. Having previously done so in 2012, U.S. market research institute Freedonia once again confirms the company as the world market leader in filtration. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office lists MANN+HUMMEL Group among the 50 most active domestic patent applicants. The company remains cautiously optimistic for 2014 as a whole.
“Compared to the previous year, our sales growth has accelerated. However, this performance lags behind our ambitious objectives,” explains Manfred Wolf, president & general manager of MANN+HUMMEL. Wolf refers to the continuing competitive pressure and conflicts in the Middle East and the Ukraine. The expected sanctions against Russia have a negative impact on the economies of almost all EU countries. The drag on the global economy in the second half of the year should not be overlooked and the forecast for the year as a whole is for rather sluggish growth.
Mixed performance in markets
“The US automotive market has gained momentum in recent months and we can benefit from that. The picture is very different in South America, where a downward trend can be seen in Argentina and Brazil.”
China is the main driver in the Asian markets. Here, MANN+HUMMEL is benefitting disproportionately from strong demand for cars and from its five, highly networked production facilities in China.
In the EU, according to the VDA Konjunkturbarometer [VDA Economic Barometer], countries most affected by the crisis – such as Portugal, Spain and Greece – are reporting particularly strong growth in new car registrations, reaching well into double figures. MANN+HUMMEL is also benefitting from the recovery of these economies. “It has led to noticeably improved demand for our subsidiaries. The erosion of sales in these countries has finally come to a halt.”
Price and competitive pressure
MANN+HUMMEL has embarked on an ambitious growth strategy to address global price and competitive pressure. “Innovations and a focus on filtration are important elements of our Strategy 2022,” explains Wolf. “And we have made good progress in both areas.” In February 2014, the MANN+HUMMEL Group acquired Vokes Air. Vokes Air, based in Svenljunga, Sweden, is a leading provider of filtration applications for ambient and process air. The megatrend in air purification is a driving force in this segment, which is becoming increasingly important in medical and industrial applications (for example, to meet clean room requirements). Since the acquisition, the company has been trading as MANN+HUMMEL VOKES AIR.
Market leadership confirmed
The focus on filtration is paying off for the family business: in the summer of 2014, independent US market research institute Freedonia confirmed once again that MANN+HUMMEL is the market leader in filtration. The institute sees the filtration specialists as number 1 in the global market for filtration applications. It values the total market at 45 billion euros (2013) and forecasts annual growth rates of 6.2 per cent up to 2018. Freedonia cites China and India as strong drivers of growth. MANN+HUMMEL is well positioned in these countries. In 2019, China will overtake the US as the largest individual market for filtration; the following year it will overtake Western Europe.