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19May94 UK: HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN FOR JCB.

JCB, Britain's largest plant maker, has staged a spectacular recovery thanks to an upturn in UK and US sales towards the end of last year.The privately-owned company unveiled a dramatic rise in pre-tax profits to £26.6 million last year (1992: £8.3 million), the first time it has publicised its results.Turnover rose by more than £38 million to £399 million as the company increased its output to 12,300 machines. To match demand, the company has recruited 400 workers, boosting the payroll to 2,700.Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of the Staffordshire-based company, predicted sales would rise by a further 15 per cent in the current year. JCB produced 4,000 machines in the first quarter of this year, up 68 per cent compared with the same period in 1993.But JCB's joint-venture with Japanese rival Sumitomo to produce excavators has yet to show a profit due to the depressed Japanese market and the high value of the yen. The schedule of the venture has been delayed by two years, although JCB expects it will move into the black this year.The wheeled loader division has also been losing money, due partly to JCB's dated product line.New wheeled loader models are being launched but the largest market for these machines is mainland Europe, which remains depressed. Sir Anthony said that he was unsure when this operation would return to profit. CONSTRUCTION NEWS