Another record year for Palfinger

Crane and access equipment manufacturer Palfinger has published its 2018 results having achieved another year of record revenues.

Total revenues for the year were €1.61 billion, an increase of 9.8 percent over last year and a new record for the company. The Land division, which includes cranes and aerial work platforms makes up almost 88 percent of this. Pre-tax profits for the year were €111 million, compared to just €6.1 million in 2017 when substantial restructuring costs added to challenges with manufacturing and supply.

The Land business comprises several divisions which are not broken down in terms of sales, but we do know that Europe comprises more than half the revenues at round €939 million and was the primary driver in terms of growth. North America is the second largest region, followed by Asia. Land revenues overall were 14 percent higher at €1.4 billion with an operating profit of €180 million up 23 percent on 2017.

Staying with the Land division, fourth quarter revenues were 19 percent higher, than in the same period in 2017 at €382 million, while operating profit jumped 44 percent to €47.2 million.

Vertikal Comment

This is of course a first class result from Palfinger, the sad thing is that trying to extract concise financial information from the massive bible that comprises its annual report is becoming increasingly challenging, although the report does include a massive amount of detail on diversity, health and safety and other issues that are hard to relate directly to financial performance.

The core material handling business - Land - continues to shine, while the expensive diversification into the marine 'Sea' business remains challenging and some might say a distraction. The company now comprises 86 companies in 34 countries with 35 production facilities along with several joint ventures in Russia, China and Argentina, to name but three.

The group appointed a new chief executive in 2018 - Andreas Klauser - so it will be interesting to see what changes he will make as he becomes more familiar with the business and its customers. So far he has overseen a simplification of the company structure into the new Palfinger Global Organisation, which one assumes is ongoing. The company is also targeting annual revenues of €2 billion over the next few years and ought to achieve that sooner, rather than later.

In the meantime a very positive result with indications that the company is gaining momentum again.