The construction boom across the Republic has helped to boost the performance of a major dealer of cranes and diggers in the Irish market, which saw its sales spike by more than a third last year.
Liebherr Construction Equipment Ireland, a subsidiary of the family-owned European industrials giant, recorded sales of €27.1 million last year, an increase of more than 35 per cent on the previous year.
The company, which sells earthmovers, diggers and similar items to builders across Ireland, recorded a 60 per cent increase in operating profits to almost €900,000, although its margins slipped slightly.
More than 80 per cent of the company’s sales come from selling equipment to builders, although it also rents machinery. About €4.6 million of its Irish revenues in 2018 were derived from servicing, repairs and the sale of spare parts.
According to an analysis contained within its accounts, the Dublin-based Liebherr company had sales of €8.8 million in the UK, which would include its sales in Northern Ireland.
The rest of its sales were grouped under the heading “Europe”. Liebherr’s website says the Rathcoole unit, founded in 2008 at the outset of the last major Irish construction crash, “is responsible for sales and service of Liebherr construction machines in Ireland”.
The Liebherr family’s largest Irish unit by far is comprised of a separate entity, Liebherr Container Cranes, which employs about 800 staff in Kerry. It makes ship-to-shore container cranes found in ports worldwide and the tower cranes used in commercial construction that dot the horizon in building booms.
Its most recently available financial results, for 2017, showed sales of €260 million, although revenues had fallen and it was loss-making.
The billionaire family of Liebherr industrialists also own a third Irish business, Killarney hotels. It operates three properties including the five-star Europe lakeside hotel resort in Killarney, the nearby luxury Dunloe hotel, also a five-star, and Ard na Sidhe, a country house retreat.
The hotel company’s most recent available results, also for 2017, showed sales of €17.2 million, down by €2 million. However, the Dunloe was shut for refurbishments throughout much of this period, which coincided with a huge tourism boom in the southwest. It reopened in 2018 after the €19 million revamp.
The hotel business originally began as lodgings for workers in the Kerry crane business in the 1950s.