Cramo Group’s consolidated sales rose 10.2 percent in 2010, the company posting €492.1 million (about U.S. $666.3 million) compared with €446.7 million in 2009. Fourth-quarter sales were €146.4 million (about U.S. $198.2 million), a 26.8-percent year-over-year increase.
EBITA was €34.5 million, just about doubling 2009’s total of €17.3 million, with fourth-quarter EBITA of €14.1 million, compared with €1.4 million for the year-ago quarter.
After a weak winter and spring, the rental market picked up significantly around the end of the second quarter and continued strong through the end of the year. The cost-saving measures implemented by Cramo improved the company’s profits for the year.
Full-year profitability was strong in Finland and Sweden, in line with Cramo’s expectations. In Norway, the business became profitable in the third quarter.
Early in 2011, after the reporting period, Cramo signed an agreement to acquire Theisen Baumaschinen AG, giving the company, already doing business in 13 countries, to expand into the German, Austrian, Swiss and Hungarian markets.
“As we entered the year 2010, we knew it would be challenging,” said Vesa Koivula, president and CEO of the Cramo Group. “In the first half, we continued to adjust our operations to the declining demand. The markets saw an upturn in the summer; at the same time, we renewed our strategy and targets, aligning them with the new situation. In accordance with our targets, Cramo’s profitability improved markedly in all of the Group’s market areas in the second half of the year.
“Expectations of construction growth in 2011 vary strongly in Europe. The southern European countries and Ireland are facing an economic crisis, and construction outlook in these countries is poor, while the outlook is positive for the German-speaking countries, the Nordic region and most Central and Eastern European countries. I am confident that the timing is favorable for Cramo’s recent acquisitions, since the outlook for the equipment rental market is positive in these market areas.”
The company expects the construction and rental services markets to grow stronger in almost all its market areas in 2011. According to construction market research organization Euroconstruct, construction activity will grow 3 to 4 percent in each of the Nordic countries in 2011, with double-digit growth rates forecasted for Poland and Estonia, with the rest of Central and Eastern Europe including Russia expected to grow at a 4- to 6-percent rate. Only the Czech Republic is expected to decline. Construction activity is also expected to increase in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary.
Cramo expects an even strong growth in the demand for rental services. VV Technical Research Centre of Finland is predicting a growth rate of 8 percent for rental services in Finland in 2011, more than the 3 percent predicted for construction. The research center said awareness of rental as an alternative to owning is contributing to the rental trend, as are outsourcing arrangements where construction companies outsource their equipment fleets to rental companies.
Cramo, based in Helsinki, Finland, said it expects to increase fleet expenditures in 2011.