Finland-based international rental company Ramirent posted a 9.4-percent decline in 2013, from €714.1 million in 2012 to €647.3 million (about U.S. $890.8 million) in 2013, adjusted for transferred or divested operations. Profit for the period was €54 million, compared to €63.7 million in 2012. In the fourth quarter, net sales was €167.5 million (about $230.5 million), a 13.7-percent year-over-year decline.

However, net sales decreased by 4.2 percent adjusted for the transfer of the operations in Russia and Ukraine to Fortrent, as well as the divestment of Ramirent’s Hungarian business.

The company expects modest economic growth in 2014 as construction market demand remains mixed in its core markets. Ramirent will maintain strict cost control and, for 2014, capital expenditure will be about the same as 2013.

“In 2013, against a background of challenging conditions in a number of key markets, we continued to develop the operational platform and balanced approach to risk that we believe are fundamental to our future growth ambitions for the business,” said Ramirent CEO Magnus Rosen.  “In such conditions, a focus on cash is always paramount and we are pleased to report a substantial increase in cash flow of 35.6 percent compared to last year.”

Rosen said at the end of 2013, Ramirent had one of the strongest balance sheets in the equipment rental industry.

“In the fourth quarter of 2013, the demand for equipment rental weakened in Finland and Norway due to slower activity especially in the construction sector and we were unable to reduce costs to match the lower demand,” said Rosen. “The market situation in Sweden remained healthy and we continued measures to improve operational efficiency. In Denmark, construction activity picked up, although from low levels, and we continued to restructure operations to increase profitability. In Europe Central, market development was still weak but showed signs of stabilization. Our business performed well in the Baltic states, where our capacity utilization increased supported by high industrial activity.”

The integration of Ramirent’s joint venture with Cramo called Fortrent was successfully completed on Jan. 15, 2014.

Ramirent is based in Vantaa, near Helsinki, Finland.