Biggest U.K. Building Equipment Manufacturer Says Lower Demand Is Spreading to Europe

Rocester–JCB–the U.K.’s largest construction equipment manufacturer–says that reduced North American demand for its building equipment is now prevalent in some western European countries, according to the Financial Times.Due to growing demand in emerging markets including Russia, India, Poland and South America, the company–headquartered in Rocester in the U.K.–is set to announce record sales, profits and market share for 2007 on Tuesday.JCB’s pre-tax profits increased 25 percent to £187 million ($367,296,107) in 2007. The year was, in JCB’s words, “the most successful year in its 62-year history.”However, the company is facing less demand for its products in the future. Because infrastructure projects have been given higher interest rates and prices for raw materials–such as cement and steel–have risen, the rapid growth in some of those markets, such as India, is now slowing.U.S. sales dropped nearly 13 percent last year due to housing market issues; this year, sales have declined by an additional 20 percent, new JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor said.In addition, some European countries have also shown a reduced need for construction materials. Sales in Spain are more than 50 percent lower this year.