Cold weather hits Cramo's German results

By Murray Pollok04 May 2012

Cramo said it had so far not been significantly affected by the high level of economic uncertainty in Europe and that its outlook for the year - sales growth and improving profitability - remained unchanged.

However, Cramo's new business Central Europe - the Theisen operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary - saw worsening profitability because of exceptionally cold winter weather. EBITA losses were €4.3 million compared to the €1.2 million in 2011 (although the 2011 period was for two months only).

Cramo said demand in Germany had picked up in March and that the outlook for the year was positive.

The company reported overall 10.5% sales growth in the first quarter of the year to €160.0 million, with EBITDA profits up 42.2% to €36.2 million. Organic sales growth was 4.7% - Cramo sold its portable accommodation manufacturing business in Finland during the quarter.

The Finland and Sweden businesses reported good profits, while profitability was "considerably improved" in Norway and Eastern Europe.

The company's Danish operation continues to make losses - with EBITDA losses of €1.4 million compared to €1.6 million in the same quarter of 2011. However, revenues grew by 31% to €8.2 million, driven by temporary accommodation contracts in Copenhagen. Cramo said it expected profitability to improve during the rest of this year.

Ves Koivula, Cramo's chief executive, said the year had started in line with expectations and that demand remained high in most of its markets and prices were improving; "In January and February, the harsh winter conditions slowed construction activity down both in Germany and in many of the Central and Eastern European countries.

"In March, demand picked up nicely and I am confident that profit for the whole year will also improve in these markets year-on-year."

He said he was "confident that our profit for the whole year will improve year-on-year, despite the fact that there are still uncertainties related to the second half of 2012".

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