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INDUSTRY TODAY 95
KUHN • PROFILE
HE KUHN GROUP IS THE FIFTH LARGEST
manufacturer of agricultural equipment in the world –
and if one excludes tractors and harvesters, it’s Number
One. However, despite the fact that the global company
dates all the way back to 1828, and that the group
boasts over 80 distribution points in more than 80 countries
around the world, it was only five years ago that Kuhn decided
to conquer Latin America, and its largest market, by acquiring a
manufacturing plant in Brazil.
ACQUIRING FACILITIES – AND KNOW-HOW
Actually, it wasn’t just any plant that Kuhn decided to buy. When
it first began investigating the possibility of expanding into Brazil,
the group’s attention was caught by a Brazilian company called
Metasa. Although its main specialty is manufacturing metallic
structures, Metasa possessed an agricultural division that had
made a name for itself nationally by designing and producing
direct seeding equipment, specifically precision drilling machines
for crops such as soya, cotton, and corn. Upon purchase of the divi-
sion, whose headquarters and plant are located on a 12-hectare site
in Passo Fundo, a town in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio
Grande do Sul, the company originally took the name Kuhn
Metasa before becoming Kuhn do Brasil in February of this year.
Kuhn was particularly interested in adding Metasa to its sta-
ble – (which, at the moment, consists of four manufacturing
units are in France, one in Holland, and one in the United States)
– because prior to this acquisition, the group possessed no direct
seeding technology. While Kuhn do Brasil produces crop spray-
ing, fertilizing and soil preparation equipment, 70 percent of its
production is devoted to direct seeding machinery such as min-
till and no-till seed drills. “For us, this was a really interesting
opportunity,” says manager Filipe Freitas de Carvalho. “Aside
from the fact that Brazil had an enormous domestic market
where Metasa was already an important name, we realized that
the direct seeding equipment we produced in Brazil could be
commercialized globally, supplying markets as diverse as Latin
America, South Africa, and Russia.”
CONSOLIDATION AND EXPANSION
For the most part, since it set foot in Brazil, Kuhn has focused
ts attentions upon consolidating its presence locally. “In the last
five years, we undertook some vast, but important internal mod-
ifications,” explains Carvalho. “Our first priority was to restruc-
ture the company in order to improve our performance in-house.
We spent a lot of time creating a synergy between this Brazilian
unit and the group’s other units around the world. Now, we’re
working on external changes; promoting the brand name Kuhn
do Brasil throughout Brazil and Latin America.”
To this end, the company has completely revamped its com-
mercial sector. Initially, it maintained a single commercial divi-
sion for all of Brazil, one for all of Latin America, and one for
exports to the rest of the world. Now, however, the Brazilian divi-
sion has been split into a trio of regional subdivisions (repre-
senting the South, Southest, and Northeast/Central-West), each
of which has seen its number of dealers and reps greatly increase
and coverage expand. Additionally, the company created a new
sales division that specializes in Kuhn products that are imported
from other units to be resold in Brazil as well as to other Latin
American markets via Brazil.
Currently, exports account for 25 percent of the company’s
business with 15 percent of sales to North America (mostly soil
preparation equipment) and another 10 percent to Latin
American and African nations. “Globally, some markets are in
expansion right now, and they are beginning to incorporate direct
FIVE YEARS AGO, KUHN,
ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST
AND LEADING MANUFACTURERS
OF AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT,
DECIDED TO OPEN ITS FIRST
MANUFACTURING PLANT IN THE
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE –
IN BRAZIL. MICHAEL SOMMERS
LOOKS AT HOW THE COMPANY
IS CAPITALIZING UPON ITS
ACQUIRED LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
AND INHERITED GLOBAL
REPUTATION TO EXPAND
BOTH DOMESTICALLY AND
INTERNATIONALLY.