3,000 employees, some 9 percent of its workforce, Swedish tool
manufacturer Atlas Copco expects to combat falling customer demand
with availability of finance products in 2009.
As a result of turmoil in the construction and mining sectors,
Atlas Copco Customer Finance (ACCF), the sales aid finance division
of Atlas Copco, is expecting to provide finance and leasing for a
higher proportion of the company’s sales in 2009.
Although it is understood that ACCF currently
offers finance to a relatively small percentage of Atlas Copco’s
customers, division head Peter Ahlstedt said that demand is
“We see different types of customers looking
for financing”, he said. “Some are interested for cashflow reasons,
although many are simply looking for the convenience of getting
finance under the same roof as the product. Certainly, many who
usually pay in cash are much more interested in finance
Ahlstedt explained that ACCF’s business, which
comprises a range of products including operating leases and
instalment loans, is driven by customer demand rather than by any
internally set targets or goals. He said that he could not pinpoint
any of Atlas Copco’s 60 national markets in which demand for
leasing had been especially pronounced, but mentioned that Europe’s
emerging markets more often expected finance to be included with
Overall, Atlas Copco experienced a significant
drop in demand during the fourth quarter of 2008, with orders down
19 percent year-on-year in Q4 and high order cancellations reported
in the mining and construction equipment divisions.
Although the company still reported Q4 sales
of SEK8 billion (€0.7 billion), up 12 percent on the €0.6 billion
reported from the same period in 2007, it announced last month that
it would shed 3,000 staff as a result of fall in demand.