Record half for Palfinger
Crane and aerial work platform manufacturer Palfinger has reported record first half revenues and substantially higher profits.
Total revenues for the six months to the end of June increased 11.4 percent compared to the same period last year to €893.4 million, mostly due to higher loader crane sales. Pre-tax profits jumped almost 21 percent to €74.9 million. The ‘Land’ division which which includes cranes and aerial lifts, reported sales 15.5 percent higher at €733.6 million with an operating profit of €82.6 million – almost five percent up on the same period last year. The Sea or marine division – formed largely from a number of acquisitions - is still struggling, although the company says that it has now completed its restructuring process and that the market has picked up, sales dropped a further 17 percent to €95.3 million, while the operating loss was cut from €9.9 million last year to €7.9 million this year.
In terms of geographical breakdown 61.5 percent of total revenues were generated by the European businesses, 22.9 percent in North America – which also benefited from a strong dollar/Euro exchange rate in terms of reporting – and seven percent from Russia and the CIS states. Net debt at the end of June was €570 million up nine percent. In the second quarter revenues were 11 percent higher at €452.5 million, while pre-tax profits were almost 13 percent higher at 36.6 million.
Chief executive Andreas Klauser said: “in a nutshell, our report on the first half of 2019 is highly positive. In the Land units, incoming orders were at a good level and our production facilities worked at full capacity utilisation. Our new structure is becoming well established. It helps us to act quickly and efficiently. This is already noticeable in our results. In the segment Sea, we were able to largely complete the restructuring process. At the same time, the market started to recover, and we have been generating more and more orders. We will intensify the integration of this segment into the global Palfinger organisational structure”.
Another strong performance from Palfinger’s core European crane and lifting related operations, supported to some degree by a turnaround in North America. It is hard not to conclude that the company’s earlier push to make it big in China – with the Sany joint ventures - and its enthusiasm for the marine market, have held it back in terms of management time and distractions and best use of resources. However Palfinger has always been good at taking calculated risks and looking to the long term for such gambles to pay off – and who knows, time might prove these ventures to have in fact been good decisions? It does though appear to have tempered its enthusiasm for making acquisitions in peripheral businesses and has tightened its focus on its core business which is all to the good.
All said and done the company continues to post strong growth in what is an increasingly competitive market, but one which still has enormous growth potential and in which it is one of the leading players.