Sales up 17% at Europe's largest truck trailer manufacturer

SCHMITZ CARGOBULL AG increased sales in the 2003/2004 operating year by almost 17% to approximately 932 million euros ($1,165 million). Consolidated net income before tax was 5.6%

During the current year, Schmitz is heading to sales of more than a billion euros ($1.25 billion), said Bernd Hoffmann, chairman of the board. In three years, sales should reach 1.3 billion euros ($1.6 million).

The market share for Schmitz vehicles in Europe increased at the same time from 18% previously to 20% today. The target is a 35% share of the market in Europe in five years, said Hoffmann. He assumed the position of chairman of the board a year ago from his predecessor, Peter Schmitz, who now is chairman of the supervisory board.

In terms of units produced, Schmitz increased output by 4,000 units to nearly 28,000 units last year. Sales are expected to double in the next five years to 55,000 units per year. Employment grew to about 3,600, including casual labor, at Schmitz's nine factories and branch sales/service offices in more than 30 European countries. Schmitz also has more than 600 authorized service partners. Five of the factories are in Germany, two in Great Britain, and one each in Spain and Lithuania.

One of the techniques that has made this growth possible while maintaining high quality, said Hoffmann, is the galvanized and bolted chassis. New trailers are prefabricated in galvanized modules and then assembled in the target markets, such as Lithuania, Spain, and Portugal. The new technology was presented at the IAA in 2002, and now the entire product line has been converted. The last welded chassis rolled off the production line in Altenberge in 2004. Schmitz Cargobull AG, Bahnhofstrasse 22, D-48612 Horstmar, Germany.

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