14 May 1999

NH says its on course

WITHa first quarter profit of $63m, New Holland believes it is back on track.

Chief executive officer, Umberto Quadrino, says the company is now delivering a good operating margin and a respectable bottom line.

Even so, the net income fell by $50m compared with the same period last year. "While Europe was stable during the quarter, the weakness in the big equipment sector in North America hurt our revenues," says Mr Quadrino. "This was compounded by a weak first quarter in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

"To control inventories, we continue to adjust our production to match demand, cutting first quarter production of agricultural equipment worldwide by 20%."

More recently in North America, New Holland and Ag-Chem announced a 50/50 joint venture for the manufacture and distribution of certain self-propelled sprayers. New Holland will market these products on a global scale but initially, the Ag-Chem model 554 self-propelled sprayer will be available only in the US and Canada.

In China New Holland has signed a joint venture with Harbin Machinery Plant to form New Holland Beidahuang Tractors, which will make New Holland tractors in the 100-180hp range. The contract is subject to approval by Heeilongjiang Provincial Admin-istration of Foreign Investment. &#42