Volvo Construction Equipment president Martin Weissburg

Volvo Construction Equipment president Martin Weissburg

Volvo Construction Equipment president Martin Weissburg

Volvo Construction Equipment president Martin Weissburg

Volvo Construction Equipment has posted an increase in sales of 30% in the first quarter of 2017.

Sales to the end of March topped SEK 16 billion (US$1.81 billion), compared to SEK 12.45 billion ($1.41 billion) for the same period in 2016.

Operating income also increased by SEK 341 million ($38.7 million) to SEK 1.62 billion ($183.5 million), with an operating margin of 10% against 2.7% a year earlier.

Improving market conditions in most regions helped the company report strong growth in profitability, order intake and deliveries as well as sales.

Geographically, sales in several areas were better than market growth in the quarter. These included Europe (sales up 26% against market growth of 17%) and North America (12% against 1%).

Sales in Asia - excluding China - were up 37% in a market growing by 10%. As a result Asia has now overtaken Europe as Volvo CE's biggest single market, accounting for nearly 40% of net sales during the quarter.

In South America, the only market to decline compared to 2016, the company grew sales by almost two-thirds to just over SEK 400 million ($45.4 million).

"After years of tough market conditions, the Volvo CE business is growing again," said company president Martin Weissburg.

"Higher sales volumes linked with increased internal efficiency and a lower cost base helped us deliver good profitability levels during the quarter.

"Volvo CE is on the right track, the improvement plan is yielding results and there are further opportunities to improve the long term competitiveness of the company."

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