Czech tractor maker Zetor is buying selected models from South Korean manufacturer TYM and has gained a foothold in the Russian market as it continues a drive to expand export sales.

An element of Zetor’s strategy is to broaden the product line, which in addition to developing its own smaller and larger tractors now involves sourcing specialized 50-70 horsepower models from Tong Yang Moolsan (TYM). These tractors are headed for selected markets, including the U.S. where the familiar machines in Zetor colors are aimed at private landowners, government agencies and the “sundowner” sector.

In Russia, an initial deal penned last year for 100 units of Zetor’s 136 horsepower Forterra 135 was followed by another agreement for 450 semi-knockdown component sets for assembly in Russia.

Now, Zetor’s newly appointed distributor Kovrov Electro Mechanical Plant (KEMP) has agreed to a more substantial deal for 6,000 CKD sets to be delivered from 2018-22.

David Kolhammer, director of Zetor’s strategy division seeking out new markets, says the latest agreement also covers the supply of Zetor 3 cylinder diesel engines for a 50 horsepower tractor that the new customer plans to build with Zetor’s help.

He adds that the Russian distributor has also expressed interest in Zetor’s 80-116 horsepower Proxima and 140-160 horsepower Crystal models as KEMP seeks to strengthen its involvement in the farming sector. The Zetor tractors will join the company’s Antbranded range of skid steer, articulated and backhoe loaders.

This is welcome business for Zetor, which in 2016 supplied just 3,144 tractors worldwide from its factory in Brno, Czech Republic, 16% or 630 units fewer than in 2015 owing to soft demand in some key European markets. That saw revenues slump 13% to €133 million ($159 million), while heavy expenditure on R&D for new models and to meet Tier 4 engine emissions requirements hammered profitability, which plummeted from €5.36 million ($6.39 million) in 2015 to just €53,000 ($63,000) after taxes in 2016.

Owner HTC Holdings is understandably pressing its largest business unit to improve its financial performance as well as to increase sales volumes.

— Ag Equipment IntelligenceFeb. 15, 2018