Palfinger continued its positive performance in the first quarter of the 2012 financial year with revenue growth of 16.9% over the same period last year.
The €223.9 million (US$288.8 million) revenue achieved in the first quarter represented a record for the company despite economic uncertainties in Europe. It was based mainly on stable demand in core markets outside Europe and internal cost management, said the company. For the immediate future, significant business expansion is forecast following Palfinger's new partnership with the Sany Group.
"In February we finalised probably the biggest project since Palfinger's IPO in 1999, namely the establishment of a partnership with Sany Heavy Industry, one of China's industrial giants," said Herbert Ortner, Palfinger CEO. "We have opened up the Chinese market in time to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Palfinger Group in 2012. We expect that this milestone will safeguard the group's leading position worldwide in the long term."
Group earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came to €17.7 million ($22.8 million), up from €15.1 million ($19.5 million) in the first quarter of 2011. Although at €10.7 million ($13.8 million), the consolidated net result for the period was below the €12.6 million ($16.3 million) recorded in the first quarter of 2011 due to a positive fiscal one-off effect during the same period last year, said Palfinger.
In Europe, while growth was recorded in numerous countries, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy remained at extremely low levels, added the company.
On a positive note, the development of demand in North America since the first quarter of 2011 has been satisfactory. Thanks to acquisitions in 2011, the CIS established itself as the region with the highest growth rates within Palfinger's entire portfolio. Combined North America and CIS contribute almost 32% to consolidated revenue and has recorded a positive operating result since the fourth quarter of 2011. In March, Palfinger purchased land in Bergheim, Salzburg, Austria as part of a forecast €25 million ($32.3 million) investment.
"Despite the uncertain development of the economy and of demand, the management expects a further moderate increase in revenue, increasingly coming from the areas outside Europe, for the 2012 financial year," commented a company spokesman. "In addition, it is estimated that the areas outside Europe will make even more substantial contributions to earnings."