Atlas Copco last week reported increased revenues for the fourth quarter, while the global economic downturn led to a sharp decline in order intake. Actions to reduce capacity and costs were implemented during the quarter.
Revenues during the fourth quarter increased 12 percent to SEK 19.7 billion (about U.S. $2.4 billion), with organic growth of 3 percent. The organic decline in order intake was 19 percent. Operating profit reached SEK 3.3 billion (U.S. $397.2 million) from SEK 3.4 billion (U.S. $406 million), corresponding to an operating margin of 16.7 percent from 19.2 percent a year ago. Excluding redundancy costs of SEK 258.0 million (U.S. $31.2 million), the profit was SEK 3.5 billion (U.S. $428.4 million), or 18 percent.
“Overall, we are pleased with our financial performance during the quarter, and we have acted quickly and decisively in adapting to the rapid and substantial decline in demand, particularly within the mining industry,” said Gunnar Brock, president and CEO. “Our businesses have already achieved a great deal and their work will continue throughout 2009.”
During the quarter, the workforce was reduced by about 1,350 people, affecting all three business areas, and other cost saving measures were introduced.
“The current economic situation makes the outlook very uncertain but demand is expected to remain very weak in most industries and regions in the near term,” said Brock. “The government stimulus packages recently introduced, primarily aimed at infrastructure projects, are expected to give support for construction equipment demand.”
Atlas Copco expects continued growth in demand for service, spare parts and consumables. All business areas recorded growth in the aftermarket during the fourth quarter.
Atlas Copco AB’s board of directors is proposing to the annual general meeting an unchanged dividend to the shareholders of SEK 3.00 (U.S. $0.36) per share, corresponding to 36 percent of earnings per share, down from 49 percent a year ago.
Stockholm, Sweden-based Atlas Copco is a global provider of industrial productivity solutions. The products and services range from compressed air and gas equipment, generators, construction and mining equipment, industrial tools and assembly systems, to related aftermarket and rental.