UNITED Kingdom ag and construction equipment manufacturer, JCB has kicked off the new year in style announcing one of the biggest orders in its history - a 1600 unit deal with the United States military.
The $US142 million deal will see the US Army supplied with 527-58M light capacity, rough terrain forklifts for logisitics and loading tasks in deployments throughout the world.
The 527-58M forklift is based on JCB's Loadall telescopic handler range.
JCB chief executive Graeme Mcdonald was unsurprisingly jubilant.
"This order is fantastic news for JCB and a great way to start the New Year," he said.
"It is the second-highest-value order in the company's history."
The military is fertile sales ground for the company as the US Army filled out the biggest JCB order in 2006 for hundreds of high speed militarised backhoe loaders.
The new 527-58M light-capability rough-terrain forklifts will be produced at JCB's Savannah, Georgia plant and will be powered by the 63kW(84hp) DieselMax engine produced at the company's power systems plant in Derbyshire, UK.
At two metres wide and 1.98m high (6.6 x 6.5ft), the military-spec machine is designed to work in confined spaces.
It offers a travel speed of 33 kilometres per hour and a maximum lift capacity of more than 2.26 tonnes and a lift height of 5.8m (19ft) and has also been adapted to meet operational needs during wading and fording.
JCB North American chief executive officer and president Arjun Mirdha said JCB had supplied more than 4000 machines to armed forces in 57 countries over the past 30 years.
The company says one of every three telescopic handlers sold globally is produced by JCB.
Versatile feels pain
CANADIAN-based and Russian-owned agricultural machinery manufacturer, Buhler Industries, has recorded a small loss for the past financial year with sales of special edition Versatile tractors helping to offset lower demand from weak commodity prices.
The company, 80 per cent owned by Russian harvester manufacturer Rostselmash Limited, manufacturers Farm King, Allied, Inland and the Versatile tractor range in factories in Canada and the US.
The company recorded improved revenue for the year ending September 2016 of $278m compared to $249m in the same period 2015, but booked a net loss of $2.7m attributed to higher interest costs and spending on research and development.
Buhler said demand for a line of limited edition 50th anniversary tractors offset sales levels affected by low commodity margins.
Buhler expects 2017 sales to rise slightly compared to the past financial year but expects the "lower commodity prices will continue to reduce demand for agriculture equipment".
It also expects competition to remain aggressive having further impact on margins.
A weaker Canadian dollar against the US currency is expected to take a toll with many components purchased in US dollars.