Weak fourth quarter for Ramirent

By Murray Pollok16 February 2010

Ramirent's final quarter of 2009 was the weakest of the year, with a net loss of €9.3 million on revenues of €126.2 million, which were down 26.9% on the corresponding quarter in 2008.

Revenues for the year were 28.5% lower at €502.5 million while net profits were down 86.1% to €4.7 million.

Magnus Rosén, Ramirent's chief executive officer, said the fourth quarter profits were not satisfactory, but added that "in the current economic environment, I am pleased with the healthy cash flow that continued and that we were able to improve our financial position."

Cash flow after investments was €19.5 million for the final quarter and the company's gearing at the end of 2009 was down to 67.8% from 107.8% at the end of 2008.

"Going forward we are in good shape to capture opportunities that may be provided due to the recession and to improve profits before taxes in 2010", said Mr Rosén, "We expect 2010 to be challenging and therefore near-term priority remains on safeguarding profitability and generate cash flow." He said contingency plans were in place in the event of a further market decline.

During 2009 all the company's markets declined. There were signs that markets in the Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia were stabilizing at the end of the year, while the situation worsened in the Nordic region and in central European countries Czech Republic and Slovakia as the year progressed. Ramirent said it noticed some positive developments in residential construction in the Nordic countries towards the end of the year.

The company's gross capital expenditure in 2009 - including investment in fleet - was just €12.9 million compared to €201.3 million in 2008. The total number of employees had fallen by 22.4% to 3021 by the end of 2009.

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