Cramo Group’s sales grew 41.8 percent in the first half of 2011 to €305.4 million (about U.S. $433.9 million), compared with €215.4 million for the same period in 2010. In local currencies, sales growth was 35.7 percent, and organic growth was 27.6 percent. Revenues grew 41.4 percent in the second quarter to €161.1 million, compared with €114 million a year ago.
Profitability improved in the first half, with EBITA of €16.8 million, more than tripling last year’s total of €5.3 million. Results were strong in Finland, Sweden and Central Europe. Profitability improved in all business segments except Norway, where demand for rental services increased more slowly than expected.
In the first quarter, Cramo acquired Theisen Group with operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary, and in the second quarter Cramo acquired 100 percent of the shares of Tidermans, a Swedish rental company in the Gothenburg region, and Stavdal, a Norwegian rental company operating in the Oslo region.
The construction and equipment rental markets are expected to grow stronger in almost all of Cramo’s market areas in 2011. According to the forecast published by the construction market research organization Euroconstruct in June, construction activity will grow by 4 to 6 percent in the Nordic region, with 5 to 7 percent in Lithuania and Russia and slightly less than 2 percent in Germany. Growth rates in double figures are expected in Poland and Estonia. Construction is expected to decline in Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“Construction activity continued to increase and profitability improved in Finland and Sweden our largest market areas,” said Vesa Koivula, Cramo Group president and CEO. “New housing starts are at a good level in Finland and Sweden, and the outlook for office and commercial construction is improving. I am particularly pleased with the improved performance of our Central European business segment, which was formed in connection with the acquisition of Theisen Group. In Germany and Austria, business developed according to our expectations. It seems that the acquisition occurred at the right time.
“Cramo’s Danish and Eastern European operations continued to improve their performance, and our objective is to achieve a positive result in the second half of the year. I also expect to see the Norwegian operations turn back into profit. The right offering carried out in April attracted interest from a wide range of investors.”
Koivula did inject a note of caution when addressing current economic realities. “A stronger balance sheet provides us with a solid foundation for successful trading also in a less favorable business environment,” he noted. “The debt crisis in certain EU countries and the increased risk level will be taken into account in our business planning.”
Based in Helsinki, Finland, Cramo operates in 15 northern, central and eastern European countries.