SGB UK declines hit Harsco Infrastructure results

29 April 2009

Sales by Harsco Infrastructure, the access services business of the Harsco Group, fell 25% to US$284 million in the first quarter of the year. Two-thirds of the decline was the result of currency changes, while the remainder of the fall was the result of poorer performance, mainly in the UK SGB business.

Operating margins were 6.6%, down from 10.0% in last year's first quarter, because of negative currency translations, higher pension costs, and the global economic and financial crisis. Operating profit in the period was 50% down at $18.8 million.

Also contributing to the declines, said Harsco, were frozen credit markets that affected the company's Germany-based equipment export business - formwork specialist Hunnebeck - and severe winter weather in Eastern Europe. Improved results from the Middle East and industrial maintenance work in the US and The Netherlands partially offset those effects.

Harsco expects continued strengthening of the dollar and a "difficult project funding environment" to negatively affect 2009 results. It said increased availability of project financing, global economic stimulus packages, its growing geographic business expansion, and its cost-cutting measures, will improve financial results during the remainder of the year.

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