Haulotte Group had consolidated first-quarter sales of €126.2 million (about U.S. $199.2 million) compared with €136.3 million (U.S. $215.2 million) in the equivalent prior-year period, a decline of 7 percent. Strong growth in emerging markets (+50 percent) and services (+16 percent) was not sufficient to offset the relative weakness in aerial work platform sales in Western Europe (-14 percent) reflecting greater-than-expected caution among many customers in Western Europe at the start of the year.
Pro forma sales were restated to exclude the sale of Haulotte’s French rental business, which included Lev and Royans Levage companies, to the Loxam group early in 2008. Those divested businesses had 2007 first-quarter sales of €7.8 million (U.S. $12.3 million).
Because first-quarter sales include the impact of timing differences of deliveries that should be reduced in the coming months, the company continues to foresee stable growth for 2008 in the worldwide market for aerial work platforms though will reassess this outlook when half-year results are issued.
On this basis, Haulotte Group maintains its 2008 guidance for sales in the €700 to €730 range. In contrast, the sustained strength of the euro against the pound sterling and U.S. dollar will adversely impact the net margin by one point if this trend persists over the full year.