Buhler books near-record sales

Winnipeg tractor and farm equipment maker Buhler Industries logged 2014 as its third-biggest sales year ever, but expects lower commodity prices to weigh on next year’s results.

Buhler last Wednesday reported year-end profit of $12.5 million on $325.5 million in sales, down from its record net ($19.9 million on $340.3 million in sales) in 2013 and its record gross ($361.2 million) in 2012.

Lower margins and higher selling and administration expenses were offset, in part, by gains on sales of “excess property and equipment” plus lower interest expenses from new financing agreements.

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“Commodity prices have declined and based on the current trend will result in reduced farm income levels,” the company said in its release, predicting lower sales in 2015.

Export sales to Eastern Europe have also dropped due to weaker commodity prices and “political uncertainty” in Russia and Ukraine, the company said. Buhler is majority-owned by Russian ag equipment firm Rostselmash and sells in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan through that company’s dealer network.

Pursuit of new markets and rollouts of new products such as DeltaTrack tractors “have helped offset a softer machinery market,” the company added.

Buhler, which markets its products under the Versatile and Farm King brand names, said it also expects its cash flow to improve throughout the year as inventory levels are projected to decline. — AGCanada.com Network

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