Haaksbergen, The Netherlands – VMI is set to recover from a dip in business last year, according to TKH Group, owner of the Dutch tire and rubber machinery maker.
TKH’s assessment is based partly on an improvement in order-intake in the tire-building segment, to €89 million, in the fourth quarter of last year.
VMI is part of a ‘manufacturing systems’ unit, which contributed 26.2% of group income in 2016. The unit is positioned within Industrial Solutions, one of three divisions – alongside Building Solutions and Telecom Solutions – at TKH.
For the group as a whole, TKH posted a 2.5% year-on-year decline in sales in 2016 to €1,341.0 million. Earnings (EBITA) fell 3.3% to €146.5 million, “due to lower production volumes at Industrial Solutions in the first nine months.”
"We were able to close the year 2016 with a good fourth quarter, in which we saw a recovery of both turnover and order-intake at Industrial Solutions, in particular in the sub-segment manufacturing systems,” Alexander van der Lof, chief executive officer of TKH, reported 7 March.
As well as equipment for making car and truck tires, Industrial Solutions’ portfolio includes speciality cable, plug-and-play cable systems and integrated systems. ‘Manufacturing systems’ also supplies systems for producing can washers, test equipment, product handling in the medical industry and machine operating systems.
In 2016, turnover in the Industrial Solutions segment fell by 4.8% year-on-year to €597.6 million. The decline, said TKH, was “entirely due to the sub-segment ‘manufacturing systems’ and was related to… reduced order intake due to reluctance to invest in China.”
But, added TKH, “while order-intake in China remained low, orders from the top five tire manufacturers increased in the fourth quarter.”
With regard to its prospects for 2017, TKH noted a “continuing reluctance to invest in China in the sub-segment manufacturing systems, but we see a large number of projects outside China that we expect to come to realization in the coming year.”
TKH went on to note that there were a “large number” of investment projects in the tire building industry, as well as “considerable market interest” in VMI’s new MILEXX systems for truck tire building.
The group also reported “solid progress” with a new tire-building platform, called UNIXX: “We will build a prototype in the course of 2017 and we expect to deliver the prototype to a launching customer in 2018. The start-up of the operations in Poland during 2016 went well and completion of the construction of the new plant for tire building systems in Poland is scheduled for 2017.”