Ramirent chief executive Magnus Rosén said the rental market in Europe will remain “mixed” after the company declared a loss of €200000 for the three months ending 31 March.
Despite an increase in sales of just over 2% compared to the same period in 2014, driven mainly by the Swedish market, Ramirent struggled in its home country of Finland, where industry research projects a decline in the market of 0.5% in the rest of 2015.
The company also said it expected further challenging conditions in Norway due to a slow construction industry, while demand for rental equipment will be modest in Russia and balanced in the Baltic countries. Central Europe has a more promising outlook, with one Euroconstruct report forecasting the Polish construction market to grow by more than 7% this year.
Commenting on the results, Mr Rosén said: “We are not satisfied with the current profitability level. In the first quarter we continued to implement our efficiency programme developing our common operational model and processes for the whole group.
“Our efficiency actions will continue during 2015 and the margin improvement stemming from these actions is expected to materialise mainly in 2016 and onwards.
“Increasing service business will be a key to generate sustainable profitable growth. Return on invested capital was 12.9% and return on equity was 9.7% compared to the financial target of 18%. Our full-year outlook for 2015 remains unchanged.
“We are committed to achieving sustainable profitable growth by pursuing our Customer First objective through the NextRamirent agenda; by maintaining a diversified business portfolio of products, customers, competences and geographies and by building one company to realise scale benefits and synergies.
“Based on our continuing solid financial position, we will also continue pursuing outsourcing opportunities and acquisitions.”
Ramirent’s next interim results, covering the six months to the end of June, will be announced on 6 August.