The third quarter of 2018 was a challenging one for plant equipment sales recording a decline of just 21 units over last year’s figure of 1455 machines sold.

Lawrence Peters, chairman of the Construction and Mining Equipment Suppliers Association (CONMESA) notes that there is little growth and the industry needs stimulus. He adds that despite the flatline trend that has characterised the last few years the industry is still buoyant and working hard to support the construction and mining industries which it serves.

“The economy is battling, and consumers are hard-pressed to continue selling at a sustainable pace. Throughout the market we are finding that it is an “up-and-down affair” with localised growth and sectors within each industry that are doing better or worse than others.

Tough year ahead

Looking ahead Peters says it is likely that the next year will be similarly flat with a possible upturn later in the year following the country’s elections.

“Considering the industry does not respond immediately to market conditions due to long planning and tendering processes any upturn will only be felt towards the end of the year. Added to this, weakening and fluctuating exchange rates are making pricing difficult and makes competitiveness in terms of pricing difficult to predict,” Peters adds.

Peters, who also represents ELB Equipment, says the company has exposure in nearly all sectors of the mining and construction industries and has experienced similar ups-and-downs. Overall however, the company has seen an improvement in sales in the mining sector while construction industry sales have trended slightly downwards.

Dale Oldridge, representing Bell Equipment, says overall the company has experienced steady sales with a slight drop-off in some sectors which has been buoyed by better-than-expected sales in the mining sector.

Finance issues

Jacqueline Aitken, representing Bobcat South Africa, says the company is still doing well in the skidsteer range although there has been a decline in cash deals. Simultaneously, finance for equipment over R800 000 is becoming more difficult and although the company has a healthy order book, it is subject to obtaining finance.

Calvin Fennell, representing Wirtgen South Africa, says sales have been slightly better than last year. With its focus almost exclusively on road technology and compaction, sales have been constrained due to fewer road building projects taking place, but steady.