Haulotte's 2009 sales fall 55.2% and no quick recovery in sight

By Murray Pollok17 February 2010

Haulotte Group reported revenues of €53.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, down 27.5% on the same quarter in 2008. Total sales for the year were down 55.2% to €202 million compared. Sales of new equipment in the year were €139 million, down 63.6%.

The company said that business had been stable since the start of 2009 but that the fourth quarter of the year saw a "slight improvement" compared to the third quarter.

However, Haulotte said "the wait-and-see approach adopted by many of our customers and the limitation of credit means we are unlikely to see a market recovery during the first half of 2010."

The company said that it had reached agreement with its banks for new credit conditions up to July 2013 following a breach of its financial covenants in the second half of 2009.

For the full year, after sales service revenues fell by 11% and rental revenues fell by 2% - the company owns rental businesses in the UK and Argentina - although this fall in rental increases to 17% when acquisitions are excluded.

European sales fell by 63.1% to €139.9 million and revenues in North America grew by 4% to €33.8 million (of which €21.9 million came from the Bil-Jax subsidiary). Haulotte acquired Bil-Jax in the summer of 2008, so the 2009 figures include a full-year contribution for the first time.

Sales in developing regions held up better, although were still down. In Asia Pacific, sales fell by 15% to €16.8 million, and in South America revenues were down 39% to €11.5 million.

Haulotte said profitability "suffered" during the year because of the high level of inventories and low sales volumes, and that it would continue with its costs reduction strategy.

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