Dr. Jens Foerst takes charge of CLAAS’ global tractor division
From June 1, Dr. Jens Foerst will be taking over responsibility for the tractor division in addition to CLAAS Industrietechnik GmbH, and will be joining the CLAAS Group Executive Board as of 1st April.
Since starting his career after completing his studies at RWTH Aachen, Jens Foerst has held numerous international management positions at EvoBus and MAN and most recently headed a global production network at BMW.
He will be taking over from Lothar Kriszun, who will remain speaker of the CLAAS Group Executive Board as part of the gradual implementation of a generational change. Lothar Kriszun will also continue to manage the Group functions of strategy and corporate communications until his retirement at the end of the fiscal year on 30th September.
Income before taxes decreased to €93 million (prior year: €158 million), primarily due to a fall in volumes.
Sales down slightly to €3.63 billion from previous year’s record-breaking figure
Income before taxes at €93 million
New record spending on research and development
Double-digit sales growth in Eastern Europe
Outlook for 2017: Slight fall in sales and stable income
“We have maintained our position well in rapidly shrinking markets,” said Lothar Kriszun, Speaker of the CLAAS Group Executive Board. “Double-digit growth in Eastern Europe had a stabilizing effect. We are pressing ahead with our efficiency program and continuing our systematic investment in digitalization and internationalization at CLAAS, thereby stepping up our efforts in tackling this long-term market downturn.”
The global market for professional agricultural equipment once again saw a significant decline in many regions this year. Since 2013, the combine harvester market has shrunk by 50% in North America and by 22% in Europe. CLAAS benefited from an increase in sales in Eastern Europe and stable development in France. Sales decreased in all other regions. In Germany, it was possible to partly compensate for the drop through stronger sales of used machinery and the further expansion of the service business.
Members of the CLAAS Group Executive Board on a crop field in East Westphalia: Hans Lampert (Finance and Controlling), Lothar Kriszun (Speaker of the CLAAS Group Executive Board and responsible for the Tractor Division), Bernd Ludewig (Sales and Marketing).
Spending on research and development up
Investment in research and development reached a new record high of €214 million (prior year: €203 million), and has more than doubled over the past decade. One in every ten CLAAS employees now works in research and development. Investment was focused on new services as well as developments in the area of harvesting machinery and tractors. Electronic components and software are becoming increasingly important in this area as they allow better management and connectivity of agricultural machinery. More and more farmers are looking to monitor and efficiently control the entire operation process chain on their farms.
Investment in new production and development capacity
The most advanced agricultural machinery plant in Europe went online in the city of Krasnodar in southern Russia. It was opened in October 2015, and at approximately €120 million it is the largest single investment in the history of CLAAS.
Besides modernization projects in production in France and Germany, another focus of investment was on expanding the global distribution and dealer network. In the spring, CLAAS laid the foundations for a new electronics development center in the town of Dissen in Lower Saxony. Once complete, it will house over 150 engineers tasked with developing control units, electronics architectures, terminals, and automatic satellite control systems.
Slight decrease in number of employees worldwide
The number of employees worldwide fell slightly to 11,300 as of September 30, 2016 (prior year: 11,535). This is a reflection of shrinking agricultural equipment markets worldwide. CLAAS continues to employ 5,200 people in Germany and remains committed to fostering its own talent. The ratio of apprentices to full-time equivalents was high in 2016 at 8.2% (prior year: 7.8%).
CLAAS Group in figures
2016 in € million
2015 in € million
Change in %
Income before taxes
Free cash flow
Research and development
Number of employees on reporting date (Sep. 30)
The driving forces in markets relevant to CLAAS remain fundamentally intact: Barring any temporary fluctuations, demand for agricultural commodities resulting from population growth and rising prosperity is set to increase constantly.
However, CLAAS expects the global market to continue to shrink in fiscal year 2017. The negative development in terms of agricultural income and the impacts of political and economic crises are leading to a general reluctance to buy when it comes to agricultural equipment.
As a consequence, CLAAS anticipates a slight fall in sales and stable income before taxes.