Playmobil remains in global growth mode, as Geobra Brandstätter GmbH., the German company behind the popular moulded plastic toy figures, launches another expansion project at its main injection moulding plant in Malta.
In what was a record breaking 2017 for ‘Playmobil’, the firm, based at Zirndorf near Nuremberg, Germany, sunk around €19m to extend the production site at Hal Far on the island of Malta.
Last year, Brandstätter invested a further €14m, primarily in multi-colour injection moulding machines, fully automated tampon printing systems and packaging machines. The capacity expansion included constructing an extra 16,000m2 production hall.
Now, the German firm is in the process of building a further manufacturing hall, also 16,000m2 at the swelling Hal Far production site where it moulds all the miniature 7.5cm ‘Playmobil’ figures.
Development there on a total area of 80,000m2 is expected to continue over the next few years on a total site area of 80,000m2 as world demand for the ‘Playmobil’ toys goes on growing, the firm said.
The Maltese operation, with a 1,300-strong workforce, has introduced an increasing number of new technology and robot automated production machinery. Job profiles are changing with new technological skills needed for machine handling and programming, according to ‘Playmobil’ Malta managing director Matthias Fauser.
Early this year, Brandstätter group announced its ‘Playmobil’ business achieved an annual turnover worldwide worth €686m with a 1% increase after its record year in 2017.
Overall group sales, including Brandstätter’s Lechuza moulded planters division, outside Germany last year represented 70% of the total revenue of €748m. Growth was driven by companies in France and Spain along with expansion markets in Italy and the US.
“This brings us a positive overall result for 2018. The toy industry is under pressure. (But) our company is providing the right answers in a competitive market environment,” commented Brandstätter chief executive Steffen Höpfner in January.
“We want to build on that in 2019. With a multi-faceted brand experience, we are laying the foundation for further expansion.”
This year, his group is expanding business further in the American market after 2018 ‘Playmobil’sales increased by 20%. Brandstätter is seeking a suitable site for a production plant in the US and sees market potential in South America and Asia, it said.
In 2019, ‘Playmobil’ is due to present 171 original new products including popular themes such as the farm, the doll’s house and the hospital. Since 1974, ‘Playmobil’ has produced more than 3 billion figures which span 30 historical and modern game themes distributed in 100 countries worldwide.
Besides the Malta plant, the group, which employs 4,600, operates production facilities in Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.