Key success factors for Danish machinery businesses remains their ability to streamline costs and investment in product development/new technology.
- The export-oriented Danish machines/engineering sector has performed well over the past 2-3 years. Profit margins have increased for about 60% of businesses over the last 12 months, and are expected to rise further in 2017 and 2018, as valued added sector growth is expected to continue rising by about 1%-2% annually. Growth is driven by exporters of energy optimisation products used in areas such as heating, cooling, and water treatment. The same accounts for suppliers to the globally growing wind turbine sector and for producers of machines for automatisation in the manufacturing process.
- That said, some machinery segments are still struggling, such as businesses dependent on the offshore oil and gas industry, which performed weakly in 2016. However, there are signs of a rebound due to a stabilisation of oil and gas prices, which could help to improve machinery demand again.
- The outlook for producers of agricultural machines remains subdued due to low investments made in the European farming sector. That said, recent improvements in milk/crop/meat prices give room for some optimism, while financing conditions for Danish farmers are improving.
- Payments in the Danish machinery sector take 90 days on average. Payment experience has been good over the past two years, and the number of payment delays, defaults and insolvencies is expected to remain stable in 2017 and 2018. However, a modest increase in defaults cannot be ruled out, as a new EU legislation allows the faster restructuring of troubled entities. Insolvencies in the machinery sector mainly affect smaller players who are overly dependent on a few, large customers, coupled with high production costs, and where restrictive access to bank financing has put pressure on liquidity. Therefore, we monitor smaller players more closely, while our general underwriting stance on the sector remains generally open to neutral.