Palfinger saw revenue rise marginally in its 2013 first quarter financial results.
Nevertheless, the crane and access platform manufacturer said it was “highly satisfied” with the figures, considering the continuing difficult economic environment.
Revenue was up 0.8% at €225.8 million, compared to €223.9 million in the first quarter of 2012. Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) increased slightly more in percentage terms by 1.5% to €25.4 million. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was 18.1 million in the first quarter, up 1.8%, from €17.7 million.
In Europe, the first quarter of 2013 saw a further decline in demand, while North America’s growth has been positive for two years in a row. In South America, increases continued from previous quarters and Asia too showed an upward curve in the period under review. Moreover, the manufacturer’s Chinese joint venture with Sany will have a positive effect on business, added the company. In the Marine business segment, the acquisition of Palfinger Dreggen at the end of 2012, also contributed to the Group’s revenue.
Growth is also expected from the Palfinger Platforms Italy S.r.l joint venture, established at the same time. The partnership will specialise in the development, production and distribution of access platforms and will manufacture reasonably priced truck bodies with easy-to-use technology. This step is expected to open up the high-volume market segment for trucks weighing up to 3.5 tonnes. The first units were sold at bauma.
“Actually we are more than satisfied,” said Herbert Ortner, Palfinger CEO, “first of all because we have managed to continue Palfinger’s growth, and secondly because this confirms the success of our strategy. Without our consistent internationalisation outside Europe and without the new Marine business area, our business performance would not be this good.”
The company did see a rise in debt during the first quarter, amounting to 43.1%. “The main reasons for the year-on-year rise in net debt were the issue of a promissory note loan with a volume of €77.5 million in October 2012 and the refinancing of maturing loans,” explained a company spokesman. As a consequence, the gearing ratio rose to 62.4% on the reporting date from 56.6% at 31 March 2012. Net working capital rose by €57.0 million to €587.8 million.
In its forecast for 2013 the company said it expected a continued moderate increase in revenue, coming primarily from the business areas outside Europe and the Marine business area. It added there was potential for doubling annual revenue to about €1.8 billion by 2017.
Palfinger said it planned to reach this goal through the introduction of its entire product portfolio in the BRIC markets, and continued growth in the marine business. There will also be organic and inorganic growth, added the company.