Which companies top this year’s ICm20?

Never has there been more upheaval in our ICm20 ranking of the world’s largest crane manufacturers and it is up again, for the fourth consecutive year. ICST reports

Never has there been more upheaval in our ICm20 ranking of the world’s largest crane manufacturers and it is up again, for the fourth consecutive year. ICST reports

What a year it was for crane manufacturers. The long established ICm20 ranking has changed more this year than ever before. It was already building up to a big change last year but extra factors have further driven the extent of this year’s developments.

Covid-19 pandemic
Overall growth in the table this year is 11.8 per cent – not the enormous 18.6 % of last year but still double digits and very strong, especially when you consider it was achieved during a global pandemic.

This year’s total value of the 20 largest companies is US$36,944,945,662 in sales. Last year it was $33,030,964,704. Having added $3.9 billion in a year is a chunk by anyone’s measure.

What makes this increase even more surprising is that 16 of the 20 companies (80 %) in the table showed a decline in sales over the previous year. Less surprising to some might be that the four companies showing growth are all Chinese manufacturers.

After a quick response to deal with the virus early-on, China soon continued with its infrastructure development programme where domestic manufacturers for all types of construction equipment and cranes worked flat-out to meet demand. It should be noted these figures in the table are for crane-related activity.

Combined with the falls at the other manufacturers, the growth among the four Chinese manufacturers has meant they have all improved their positions in the table, by between one and three places.

We have a new number one. China’s XCMG is now at the head of the table, displacing Liebherr which has led the ICm20 for longer than many people will remember. An amazing 74 % increase over the previous year drove its three place rise from 4th last year. It should be noted that also contributing to this enormous rise is the inclusion of a figure for sales revenue from its tower crane division for the first time.

Zoomlion, China
Now up to second place from third, displacing Konecranes, is Zoomlion, also from China. This giant’s rise was 58 % and all from an increase in sales, most of which was from its domestic market.

Liebherr in third place saw a decline of 7.9 %, in line with what was expected as a result of a negative impact of the pandemic outside China. Konecranes, in 4th place, had a more modest decline of 4.4 % over the previous year, from €3.7 to €3.2 billion.

After that and up one place in 5th is the next Chinese company, port crane and equipment manufacturer ZPMC. Its increase in percentage terms was 40 %, or close to $1 billion, up from $2.5 to $3.4 billion. Next is the fourth Chinese manufacturer Sany, up two places from 8th last year with a massive, 57 %, rise, adding RMB 8 billion to its just under RMB 14 billion total last year.

ICm20 previous years
Back in Europe and to Cargotec which, having occupied third place in the ICm20 for many years, dropped two places in 2020 and a further two this year, putting it now in seventh. Its decline was 13 %, more in the port and offshore crane segments than in the Hiab loader crane and handling equipment division, from €2.5 to 2.2 billion overall.

Even with a higher percentage fall of 18.4 %, Tadano only dropped one place to 8th. It has been up and down in this area for several years. Back in 2013 it was in 9th place. Following the Demag acquisition and a programme of restructuring further improvement may be expected. New product development has continued throughout and more is on the way.

The first company to have retained the same position as last year is Manitowoc in 9th. While it lost around $400 million in sales (down 5.8 %) from the previous year, its order book has been strong and the backlog rising for almost a year now. A recent departure for the USA-headquartered company has been to acquire some of its distribution network in the country.

Also retaining the same place as last year and rounding out the top 10 is Austrian loader crane company Palfinger. Its drop in sales was 4.2 % but there was a change in the reporting. It should now be a more accurate figure for the crane portion of its production which also includes aerial work platforms, materials handling machines and offshore equipment.

Industrial crane maker Columbus McKinnon, like last year in 11th place, posted a drop in sales of 7.7 %, or $ 67 million, still way ahead of its $637 million total in 2017.

Also headquartered in the USA, Terex comes next in the table at 12th, with an estimated (cranes are no longer reported separately) total of $569 million. Having most recently sold off its Demag mobile crane business and before that the port crane business, its position has steadily dropped from second place in 2017. Regardless, it has managed to gain two places from last year with its remaining tower crane, rough terrain and pick and carry crane operations.

The next two companies, Kato and Sennebogen, each dropped one place and a quarter of their annual sales. After an exceptional record year in 2019 Sennebogen has since reported signs of a strong comeback in 2021.

Starting with Link-Belt in 15th place all the remaining companies in the table held firm in the same positions as the year before. All showed declines, in a broad range, from just 2 % to as much as 25 % but they also report strengthening order intakes and positive outlooks for post-pandemic recovery.

Notes on the ICM20

Figures used in this ICm20 table for November 2021 are from calendar year 2020 or the 12 month financial year to 31 March 2021. The year-on-year percentage change figures for revenue mentioned in the article are normally calculated in the reporting currencies of the manufacturers or are supplied by the manufacturers. In some cases, where stated, they are calculated from the figures given in the table which are conversions to US dollars from the various reporting currencies. For the figures in this year’s table the exchange rates from the reporting currencies into US dollars were as follows:

Exchange rates on 01 November 2021 from xe.com (Table does not account for exchange rate fluctuations from year to year)

Euro 1.00 = US$ 1.16

US$1 = JPY 114.20

US$1 = CNY(RMB) 6.39

US$1 = RM(MYR) 4.15


Receive the information you need when you need it through our world-leading magazines, newsletters and daily briefings.

Sign up