JCB reports profits for 2020 despite COVID upheaval

By Julian Buckley28 September 2021

JCB is planning to launch a hydrogen-powered engine by late 2022

JCB has reported that it has remained profitable in 2020 despite the severe impact of the COVID pandemic on its global manufacturing operations.

Last year, sales turnover at the UK-based OEM fell to £3.1 billion ($4.24 billion, 2019: £4.2 billion, $5.74 billion), while machine sales decreased to 74,590 units (2019: 92,216). Earnings on an EBITDA basis stood at £228 million ($311 million, 2019: £414 million, $566 million).

Commenting on the figures, JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “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.”

He continued: “The turnaround in 2021 has been dramatic: we are sitting here now in September with four times the usual order bank we had in normal times two to three years ago. 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: “The past is the past and, while 2020 was undoubtedly one of the most difficult years in our history, our focus is now very firmly on the future. 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.”

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