British machinery giant JCB has hailed a strong recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic with record production levels.
The Staffordshire-based company, which produces a range of agricultural and construction machinery, says it remained profitable in 2020 despite the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations across the world.
Figures released from the company show its turnover fell by £1.1 billion last year to £3.1bn, while the number of machines sold reduced to 74,590 – down from 92,216 in 2019.
“In March 2020, £1 billion worth of orders disappeared overnight with the onset of Covid-19 and JCB was forced to close its 21 manufacturing plants around the world for around two months,” said JCB chief executive officer, Graeme Macdonald.
“Despite the severe impact on its business, JCB remained profitable in 2020 as it has done for the past 76 years.”
He described the company’s turnaround in 2021 as “dramatic” and said the company was stepping up production to meet demand.
“We are sitting here now in September with four times the usual order bank we had in normal times two to three years ago,” added Mr Macdonald.
“As a result, we are ramping up production to levels we have not had before. I have never seen anything like it in my career.”
JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, said although 2020 had been one of the most difficult years in the company’s history, it was firmly focused on the future.
He said: “We continue to lead the way in zero emissions technology, particularly with the development of the construction equipment industry’s first internal combustion engine powered by hydrogen, which is already being tested in JCB machines.
“This is a great British breakthrough and we will be producing these engines by the end of next year.”