Buhler foresees declining tractor sales soon

The maker of Versatile tractors expects sales of its other ag equipment short lines to continue strong while tractor sales decline over the rest of fiscal 2009.

Winnipeg’s Buhler Industries on Friday posted net profit of $4.59 million on sales of $93.35 million in its second quarter (Q2) ending March 31. That’s up from $3.22 million on $50.56 million in the year-earlier period.

“Overseas sales to our majority owner, coupled with favourable exchange rates and a healthy demand for agricultural products, contributed to the sales increase,” Buhler reported.

The company has boosted its overseas sales in recent months by tapping into the sales network of its Russian majority owner, Combine Factory Rostselmash, which bought an 80 per cent stake in Buhler in late 2007.

Record sales in 2009 are expected, the company said, “despite the current global economic crisis.”

Strong commodity prices will mean “an increased focus on the North American market, in order to satisfy the demand for equipment.”

Sales of short-line equipment continue to be strong, the company said. Buhler’s various short lines include grain handling equipment, front-end loaders, mowers, cutters, harrows, swath rollers, balers and bale carriers. It launched a new grain vac unit at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville in February.

However, the company said it anticipates a decline in tractor sales “for the remaining part of the year.” The company last fall undertook a major rebranding of all its tractor production under the Versatile brand name.

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