Hong Kong — Haitian International Holdings Ltd., China’s biggest maker of injection molding equipment, saw sales jump 30.5 percent to 5.037 billion yuan ($756 million) in the first half of the year, on what it called a “mild recovery” in the global economy and strong demand in China.
Gross profit for the period, which ended June 30, climbed 34.2 percent to 1.318 billion yuan ($197.8 million).
It said domestic sales rose 29.2 percent to 3.541 billion yuan ($531.4 million) while exports climbed 33.6 percent to 1.392 billion yuan ($208.9 million).
“With support from the recovery in key overseas economies and growth in [the] domestic economy, the demand in the plastic injection molding machinery industry was strong in the first half of 2017,” the company said.
The figures were announced Aug. 21 in Hong Kong, where Haitian is traded on the stock exchange.
The Ningbo-based company said sales of its all-electric Zhafir machines leaped 53.1 percent to 521 million yuan ($78.2 million), while sales of Haitian’s big, two-platen Jupiter series jumped 38.1 percent to 629.8 million yuan ($94.52 million).
The company’s bread-and-butter Mars series saw sales rise 31.3 percent to 3.527 billion yuan ($529.4 million).
The interim figures mark in part a return to Haitian’s stronger growth of previous years. Sales for the six months ending June 30, 2016, was 3.86 billion yuan ($580 million), up a scant 0.3 percent from the first six months of 2015.
It said stronger corporate investment in China that resumed in late 2016 continued in the first half of the year, and it said it saw a number of positive signs in global markets, including less uncertainty in the eurozone after French elections and improving labor market data in the United States.
The company continues its global push. Even though its sales to Turkey are down slightly, Haitian broke ground earlier this year on a 52,000 square foot workshop on the outskirts of Istanbul, with an eye to a bigger market.
“We believe Turkey is the door to the Middle East,” said Haitian board member Helmar Franz, in an interview at the company’s earnings announcement.
Indian demand for injection molding machines remains small compared with China. But India’s anti-dumping duties on injection presses from China, Taiwan and several Southeast Asian countries has pushed other machinery makers to set up shop in India to serve local customers.
The company is bullish on South Asia. “After the tariffs were introduced [in 2009], our sales to Bangladesh exploded,” Franz said. “And Pakistan is becoming a huge market.”
Having a presence in India is key to cracking markets that are frequently manned by the country’s well-traveled business people.
“One of our strategic directions for the Indian factory is Africa,” Franz said.
As many foreign injection molding machine makers have set up shop around Ahmedabad, Haitian will be able to source parts locally. Local content is not yet an option in Turkey, which has virtually no injection molding machine manufacturing, Franz said.
Earlier this year, Haitian finished adding 860,000 square feet of plant space to its sprawling Zhafir facility in Chunxiao, near Ningbo, and broke ground on another 860,000-square-foot space next door.
Domestically, increased vigilance by environmental regulators is putting wrinkles in the supply chain, with some of Haitian’s suppliers forced to close up shop.
Several years ago, Haitian decided to build up its in-house capacity for heat-treatment for its own screws and barrels. “We invested in the newest equipment with all the environmental certificates,” Franz said.
The move proved prescient when several of its suppliers were forced out of business by environmental regulators.
“This is something the government is really serious about,” Franz said.
Haitian likes to manufacture those parts in-house, both in case of unexpected shocks to the supply chain and to be able to evaluate suppliers’ wares, Franz said.