subscribe to ENR magazine subscribe
contact us
careers industry jobs
events events
Dodge Data & Analytics
ENR Logo
Web access will be provided
as part of your subscription.

Despite Downturn, Munich’s Megashow Still Delivers

Text size: A A
[ Page 1 of 2 ]

Starting under a disruptive cloud of fine volcanic ash, Germany’s triennial construction equipment show, Bauma, ended on an optimistic note in Munich last week. Flight bans reduced the show’s visitor numbers, but global equipment sales are reviving, report exhibitors.

Photo: Messe München
Doosan and others used machine gymnastics to catch the crowd’s attention.
----- Advertising -----

“What a difference a year makes,” says Mike DeWalt, director of investor relations at Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. From fast-falling sales in last year’s first quarter, now “demand for our products is rising,” he says.

Last week’s show, held on April 19 to 25, was the biggest-ever Bauma in terms of sheer space, say officials at organizer Messe München GmbH. Braving the recession, 150 more exhibitors than last time agreed to take part, for a total of 3,150 exhibitors at the show complex.

But with ash from an Icelandic volcanic eruption halting flights in the first couple of days, 15% fewer visitors came than in 2007. The slip wasn’t a biggie for Bauma, though fewer international attendees showed up. Of the roughly 415,000 people at the show, two-thirds were from Germany.

Yet, Messe München notes optimism in the industry, citing comments by Ralf Wezel, secretary-general of the Committee for European Construction Equipment, Brussels. “The mood in the industry shows that, in Europe, the bottom of the cycle is now behind us. Confidence has returned,” he says in a statement.

The gentle upturn has been the theme across the globe. “It looks as though the first quarter of this year is slightly better than the last quarters of last year,” says David Phillips, managing director of Off-Highway Research Ltd., London.

With large stocks of relatively new machines in place, Phillips says he expects demand in North America and Western Europe to show “not much” improvement in the next 24 to 36 months.

Caterpillar’s DeWalt reports improved demand in “most geographic regions, although it’s much more robust in the developing countries.” The company’s manufacturing plants are again recruiting in Asia, Latin America and in those U.S. facilities experiencing strong export demand.

In the U.S., Caterpillar is winding down its “rolling plant shutdowns,” which started last year, and is “selectively adding to employment to support increasing demand,” adds DeWalt. Cat forecasts unchanging inventories this year, with dealers starting to buy again by Christmas.

Demand is improving, but last year’s dire sales are feeding into Caterpillar’s financial results this first...

[ Page 1 of 2 ]
----- Advertising -----
  Blogs: ENR Staff   Blogs: Other Voices  
Critical Path: ENR's editors and bloggers deliver their insights, opinions, cool-headed analysis and hot-headed rantings
Project Leads/Pulse

Gives readers a glimpse of who is planning and constructing some of the largest projects throughout the U.S. Much information for pulse is derived from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge.

For more information on a project in Pulse that has a DR#, or for general information on Dodge products and services, please visit our Website at

Information is provided on construction projects in following stages in each issue of ENR: Planning, Contracts/Bids/Proposals and Bid/Proposal Dates.

View all Project Leads/Pulse »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.