Ramirent 24.6% down; Öberg decides to leave

By Murray Pollok13 May 2009

Ramirent managed €0.5 million net profit in the first three months of the year despite reporting net sales 24.6% down at €122.2 million compared to the same period in 2008. All its markets were down, with the worst performing area being Europe East (Baltic States, Russia and the Ukraine), down 54.6%. Other territories were down between 14.1% (Finland) and 23.1% (Sweden).

In an unrelated announcement, Mikael Öberg, Ramirent's senior vice president for Scandinavia, said he will leave Ramirent for a job in another industry. He will remain in place until 10 November or until a successor is found.

Ramirent president and CEO Magnus Rosén said he respected Mr Öberg's decision, adding; "I would have preferred to see him continue his successful career within Ramirent for many years to come." Mr Öberg has been responsible for Ramirent's operations in Sweden since he joined the company in 2002, and since 15 January has also been responsible for Denmark and Norway.

Commenting on the company's results, MrRosen said; "The market conditions continued to decline in the first quarter. 2009 will prove to be a challenging year and our near-term priority remains on safeguarding profitability and cash flow in order to amortize debt."

The company has reinforced its cost saving measures. In March it announced a further 150 staff lay-offs - 600 staff were earlier made redundant. At the end of the quarter, the company was employing 535 less people (the total is now 3502) and costs are 22% lower compared to the third quarter of 2008 when the first cost savings programme started.

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