ZF the German based producer of crane and telehandler transmissions and axles says that it expects revenues in 2007 to be up eight percent on 2006 to €12.6 billion.
The company also says that it is continuing to press ahead with the internationalisation of its operations, investing significant amounts in Germany and other countries, hiring some 3,000 additional workers both in 2007 and in 2008.
In the commercial vehicle segment, ZF posted a new record producing 480,000 transmissions for trucks and buses. Since May 2007, these sales have been boosted by ZF Kama, a joint venture company between ZF and Kamaz, the market leader for heavy trucks in the Russian Federation.
ZF also reported substantial growth in axle systems for commercial vehicles and axles and transmissions for construction machinery. Its Off-Road Driveline Technology and Axle System business saw revenues rise by 11 percent to €1.873 billion, while the Powertrain and Suspension segment grew by 12 percent to €2.383 billion.
Chief executive Hans-Georg Härter said: “We’ve made excellent progress in further internationalising the company and have gained a number of new customers in the leading developing markets. It looks like we’ll continue to grow in 2008, although not with the same momentum as in the outgoing year,”
ZF says that it is investing extensively in new products, new and existing production plants and equipment. Investment projects in Germany include the construction of a facility to manufacture 8-speed automatic transmissions and produce hybrid drive technology.”
In other countries, ZF is expanding its production units from Brazil to China and building new plants, including facilities in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and India.
The investment programme also includes expansion and new construction plans for engineering centres in Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan; and Pilsen-Czech Republic.
The company is also increasing its €700 million research and development budget, which will once again represent more than five percent of the company’s revenues.
People and training
“It’s becoming more difficult to find the right employees, generally due to the reduced number of jobseekers and specifically because of the shortage of skilled workers and engineers.” Said Harter.
“As a result, this year we’ve taken new initiatives, for example, by stepping up our joint programs with colleges and universities. I have particularly high hopes for the launch of the Knowledge Workshop, an institution in Friedrichshafen, founded in cooperation with the city and the Association of German Engineers (VDI) to motivate children and young people to take an interest in the world of technology and to make them curious about learning a technical profession.”
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