Haulotte Group delivered a strong commercial performance in the last quarter of 2018, with consolidated sales of €142 million (about U.S. $159.8 million) compared with €136.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 4-percent increase. The company increased 12 percent compared to the third quarter.
For the full year, Haulotte posted total revenue of €555.9 million, compared with €499.4 million in 2017, an 11.3-percent hike. Group growth remains mainly driven by the Europe region, which increased 18 percent. Most markets remain well-oriented, Haulotte said, and major rental companies are still very active. In North America, consolidated revenue increased 6 percent, with strong mobile elevating work platform sales growth throughout the year (13 percent).
The Asia-Pacific region ended the year with revenue growth of 8 percent, driven by higher sales in China and Australia, despite a slowdown in the Middle East.
The recovery that took place in Latin America in 2017 with the exception of Argentina continued into 2018, enabling Haulotte to post a 12-percent growth in the region. Equipment sales increased 16 percent and service increased 5 percent. Rental activity declined 7 percent, impacted by the situation in Argentina.
The business growth in 2018 is insufficient to enable the company to achieve its objective of maintaining the level of current operating income. Unfavorable effects of customer and geographic mix, plus the increase in raw material prices and fixed costs generated by the implementation of the new strategic plan, were not sufficiently offset by the good volume performance. However, the company expects an improvement in the equipment mix and a more favorable sales price environment in 2019.
The current level of orders is at its highest since 2007, and Haulotte expects continued strong commercial activity to enable the group to post sales growth of around 10 percent in 2019.