* Kion aims to replace Toyota Industries as No.1
* To focus on growth in United States, China
* Sees 2014 adj EBIT up by high single-digit percentage
* Eyes adj EBIT margin of at least 10 pct in medium term (Recasts, adds CEO comments, details on outlook)
FRANKFURT, March 20 (Reuters) - German forklift truck maker Kion aims to overtake Toyota Industries Corp to become global market leader no later than 2020 by focusing on growth in Asia and the United States, its chief executive said on Thursday.
Kion posted sales of about 4.5 billion euros ($6.3 billion)in 2013, giving it a global market share of 14.1 percent, while Toyota’s Materials Handling business last had annual sales of about 5.6 billion euros.
“Our goal is to become the sector’s No.1,” Kion CEO Gordon Riske told journalists after the company published its first annual financial report since its stock market debut last year.
The Wiesbaden, Germany-based group currently generates more than 70 percent of its revenue in western Europe, where a sluggish economy and high costs have held back investments.
Now it is developing new products and introducing its STILL brand of forklift trucks to the fast-growing U.S. market, which is benefiting from a revival of manufacturing sector following an extended slump during the global economic crisis.
“Re-industrialisation isn’t just a legend, it is really happening there,” Riske said.
In China, where it has a 7 percent market share, Kion is rolling out new Linde models that target somewhat lower-end customers to build more scale.
In addition, Kion aims to step up use of shared modules and platforms to lift synergies across brands, which finance chief Thomas Toepfer said could add 1.5 percentage points to the group’s profit margin.
Kion posted a margin on adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 9.3 percent last year and aims to boost that figure to at least 10 percent in the medium term.
The group said it expects margins to reach a record level this year already, as sales grow by up to 5 percent and adjusted operating profit rises by a high single-digit percentage.
Kion’s stock has gained about 41 percent in value since its listing last June, giving the company a market value of 3.36 billion euros. KKR and Goldman Sachs own a combined 34.5 percent stake in Kion, and China’s Weichai Power holds 33.3 percent of shares.
$1 = 0.7189 euros Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mark Potter