Ramirent, Helsinki, Finland-based rental giant, posted net sales of €122.2 (about U.S. $166.6 million) in the first quarter of 2009, a 24.6-percent decline from €162.1 million posted in the first quarter last year. Operating profit dropped 75.6 percent from €29.5 million in the year-ago quarter to €7.2 million in this year’s first quarter.
Net profit for the first quarter dropped 97.3 percent from €19.5 million in last year’s first quarter to €0.5 million this year.
“The market conditions continued to decline in the first quarter,” said Magnus Rosen, CEO. “2009 will prove to be a challenging year and our near-term priority remains on safeguarding profitability and cash flow in order to amortize debt. The cost-saving actions initiated at the end of 2008 are progressing according to plan, but due to the slow start of 2009, the action program was reinforced during the review period. At the end of the first quarter, our workforce had decreased by 535 persons since the start of the first cost-saving program. Our focus lies on implementing cost-saving actions, continuing to right-size our fleet and re-allocating fleet capacity between markets to support price level and utilization. We have developed contingency plans to address the risk of further market decline.”
The company said the Eastern Europe market was hit particularly hard. Construction activity slowed dramatically in the Baltic States, Ukraine and Russia as well, with major slowdowns in Scandinavia. Poland was the only market that grew.
The decline in Eastern Europe (53.6 percent) was particularly big.