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September 16, 2009

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Industrial giant sees growth after 2009

INGERSOLL-RAND, a diversified industrial manufacturer, said its China sales may be flat this year amid the global slowdown, but the company said it remains upbeat for 2010.

"Maybe we got spoiled because we were used to China growing 25 to 30 percent," Chairman and CEO Herbert Henkel said yesterday.

The China unit's revenue was expanding by at least a fifth every year until the slump began in 2008.

The United States-based company makes products such as Thermo King and Hussmann refrigeration equipment, and Club Car golf carts.

Industrial air compressors have been particularly hard hit by the slowdown in China's economy and exports, according to Jeff Song, the firm's China president.

But China sales could return to double-digit growth next year as the nation's economy strengthens and the company expands market share, Henkel said in the Jiangsu Province city of Wujiang, where Ingersoll-Rand yesterday opened a US$160 million manufacturing plant, its largest in the Asia-Pacific.

Henkel said the new plant underscores the company's long-term commitment to the Chinese market. It will localize some products now being manufactured in plants outside China, he said.

The company said it sees growth opportunities for its temperature-control equipment and services, which are used to protect food and other perishables. They cited the stricter food-safety standards adopted by China.

US-listed Ingersoll-Rand in July reported a better-than-expected 52 percent drop in quarterly profit after cutting jobs and closing plants.


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